Worthing Pride: Plans to host this year’s event divide opinion

Worthing Pride’s decision to go ahead this summer has received a mixed response from residents.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 4:21 pm

Opinion was divided on the Worthing Herald’s Facebook page as some readers feared the town would be overrun by revellers who would otherwise go to the cancelled Brighton Pride.

But some defended the decision, pointing to the benefits to local traders and safety measures in place at the ticketed event.

The parade along the promenade may have been cancelled, but the event at Beach House Park will go ahead on a ticket-only basis, allowing organisers to control the number of people entering.

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Commenting on the Herald’s page, Julie Michele was not impressed with the decision to proceed.

“Stupid decision which now means Worthing will be rammed with people who haven’t got tickets, from many other towns and cities, not just Brighton,” she said.

“There is no procession but I expect there will still be thousands of people wanting to celebrate around the town, where pubs and cafes will be fully open and operational. I suggest that people who don’t want to go into town on July 10 steer clear and go another day instead.”

Tracey Stanton agreed. She said Worthing ‘will not know what has hit it’ and suggested visitors would leave rubbish and urinate in the town’s gardens.

“A lot of Brighton residents won’t miss it, that’s for sure,” she said.

In a statement on Wednesday (May 5), Pride organisers said the scale of Worthing’s event, where 2,500 tickets were sold in 2019, pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of people who cram Brighton’s streets every August.

By ticketing the event and having significantly lower overheads than Brighton, Worthing’s organisers said they could move all of their focus onto public safety in Beach House Park.

“This means we have the ability to socially distance our queuing systems, installation of mobile hand washing station, increased socially distanced toilet facilities, bar and food queuing system which will also be socially distanced along with a full track and trace system in place for all visitors, to name but a few,” organisers said.

Many commenters on the Herald’s page welcomed the return of Pride this year.

Adam Hurley said if people from Brighton come to the town local businesses could do a ‘roaring trade’.

Sarah Mullen pointed out that, under the planned roadmap out of lockdown, restrictions will have been almost totally eased by July 10.

“I don’t actually see what the issue is?” she said.

“Based on the current roadmap, events like this will be allowed to happen by June 21, weeks before Pride. Also, Worthing Pride is a smaller ticketed event in one area. Brighton Pride takes over the whole city and would be much harder to police/keep numbers low.

“If you don’t like it, don’t go but you can’t complain that others are going to go to events, when we’ve been told we can by our government.”

Zohra Peace agreed and said it was nice to have something to look forward to, adding the last Worthing Pride was ‘brilliant’.

“I hope the weather is kind and everyone has a great time,” commented Mark Sohn.