INCLUSIVITY and acceptance were at the heart of proceedings in Malvern as Pride returned to the town.

Back in Priory Park for the first time since 2019, Malvern Pride saw hundreds turn out for entertainment and fun on July 30.

The festival welcomed in people of all ages and included dancing, food and drink and a host of other activities.

Mayor of Malvern Cllr Nick Houghton, also on the Pride committee, said the event was a resounding success.

He said: "It was great to see the park so full with people dancing, eating and enjoying themselves.

"As mayor of Malvern I am delighted that Malvern Town Council were able to provide some funding for the event and were able to install Malvern Pride funded pride flags throughout Malvern for the days before and after Pride

"I have spoken with a number of local businesses who have reported to me that trading was up in the town as lots of people came to Malvern and spent their hard earned money in the town

"Malvern Hills District Council also provided some funding for the event so its great to see the local councils jointly supporting such an inclusive event.

"And of course Malvern Pride received sponsorship from local businesses and Malvern Pride used local businesses so the event truly was for local people and businesses.

"It was my great pleasure to open the event as Mayor of Malvern and then once the event started be able to enjoy all that was on offer

"I have received many very positive comments on how great it was to see Pride back in Malvern and I look forward to the next event."

Priory park was full of stalls, entertainment and bright colours in celebration of the festival.

Due to the pandemic, the festival has not been able to take place since 2019.

The festival kicked off at midday with the support of both the town and district councils.

The event was hosted by drag queen Ellixia Q. Valentine, who said how important local Pride events are to the LGBTQ+ community.

Ellixia said: "It's amazing to see such a great turnout. Local Pride's are just so important and is so welcomed after the pandemic.

"It is especially wonderful seeing so many young people here as well with Pride flags and makeup.

"I did not that have that when I was a kid and I am so happy the next generation gets to have this experience."