Organisers of the second Manx Pride parade and festival say they have been astounded by the level of support they have received.

Some 700 people took part in the parade along Douglas seafront on Saturday morning, carrying rainbow flags and holding up placards with a range of slogans.

The parade included a float with four queens – Fenella Beach, Vida LaFierce, Nona Binary and Mathea –as well as the colourful Pride car.

It made its way to the Villa Marina Gardens, the venue for 12 hours of free entertainment, including music, children’s games and crafts in two family tepees, and a silent disco in the evening hosted by DJ Allan Vannin.

The festival village was launched with a message by Manx actor Joe Locke, which was screened from the main stage.

Locke, who stars in the ‘Heartstopper’ Netflix series said: ‘Having a Pride may seem like a small gesture to small.

‘But for the people who don’t feel comfortable in who they are seeing a huge amount of people celebrating the parts of themselves society used to ridicule can change lives and bring out the confidence people need to be their true selves.’

He also used his message to call on the government to change the rules to allow gay men to donate blood and to ‘bring the island one step closer to acceptance’.

Dawn Kinnish, event director for this year’s Pride parade and festival, told Island Life: ‘The board has been astounded by the local response to this year’s Co-op Pride Parade and Crimson Panda Pride Festival.

‘There were around 700 participants in the parade, campaigning for improved LGBTQ+ rights as well as sharing messages of love and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

‘Personally, I was overwhelmed with emotion at the level of support when I saw the parade approaching.’

Dawn added: ‘We had almost 12,000 attendees to the festival, basking in the hot Manx sun for 12 hours of live free entertainment on the Flutter Main Stage.

‘We had a brilliant range of high-quality local artisan retailers and food and drink producers. ‘The staff at the MuchBetter Bar never stopped!’

The line-up on the main stage included Vida LaFierce, the Rainbow Choir, Mae Challis and Nell, Nicki Naden and Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.

Dawn said: ‘We want to thank each and every corporate sponsor, who have grown significantly in number this year, as well as our committee and tremendous band of volunteers, not to mention every person who came to support Pride and its values of respect, inclusion and ultimately acceptance.’