About Us

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Our Values

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Beth McCann (she | her | hers)
Chair

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I'm a bisexual, perimenopausal nonna, married to a very lovely, patient man.

Ever since I was a small girl I've loved football and that whole team spirit is something I've found with the Calderdale Pride team.

After attending a Stonewall role model training course at work, I ended up first as Secretary and then as Chair of the committee. I'd previously been involved in organising social events at work, but for 100 or so people, nothing on the scale of a Pride event.

Why is Pride important to you?
Pride is so important, more now than ever, we need to show the world that the LGBTQ+ community is to be celebrated and supported. We need to teach the coming generations that love is for all. We need to be Strong, Proud, Together.

What's one of your favourite memories?
One of my favourite memories of Pride was meeting a young non-binary person sat with their grandparent. They were both so happy, and at that moment, I knew we'd done our job as a committee. We'd created a safe, inclusive space for everyone to feel a part of.

Bazz Robson
(he | him | his)
Creative Director, Head of Entertainment, Host 

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
As a dancer/choreographer and performer, for almost 30 years, I have brought 3 decades' worth of creative experience to Calderdale Pride. This was one of the many reasons why I joined the team. I hoped I could help create, steer, and navigate an extremely professional event for the community and its allies..... an event that would make the town extremely proud.

As a business owner in the Halifax (Bazzmatazz Dance Studio - 17 years) I have made many acquaintances and friendships with other businesses, and have been a part of, performed at and hosted some of the towns biggest event. From the Christmas Lights Switch On, Eurovision at The Piece Hall; to Overgate's annual Colour Run and the Halifax Gala..... I have supported and been a part of so many - doing what I can, especially if it is for charity.  

Hosting Calderdale Pride (as Dame Shirley Bazzey) and a handful of our fundraisers...is a job I NEVER take for granted, and I am extremely grateful for the role. To be able to stand on stage and entertain (as an openly proud gay man), in a town that I have called home for 20 years, is an absolute JOY.

The energy and positivity from the Calderdale Pride team is second to none, and I will NEVER forget the incredible moments that we have made and continue to create together. Don't get me wrong, it's not a walk in the park....it is a lot of incredibly hard work - but we are all in it for the same reason. We care massively for our beloved community and want to bring Pride to Halifax ....and, in doing so, create the most JOYOUS, SAFEST, and FABULOUS events throughout the year. Whether that be the main one at The Piece Hall in August, our Sister event 'Queerfest' in July ....or when we are shaking buckets in Sainsbury's. All of it is important. 10 individuals working tirelessly to raise every single penny, to be able to spread the message of 'Love Is Love' in and around Halifax.

Why is Pride important to you?
Pride to me is a celebration of life. We are all human beings at the end of the day and should ALL be treated with the utmost respect and kindness. We are all EQUAL! We fight because, sadly, we have to..... not everyone sees life through the same eyes! Haters will hate....but that's why we drown out the noise with our protest. We are strong, proud, together.

Andrew Bryenton
(he | him | his)
Head of Health & Safety, Co-host

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I am a driven, enthusiastic individual with a passion for the rights of all individuals to live their best, authentic lives.

As a project manager in the construction industry, I felt that my skills would be transferable and would have a positive input to the team. I first got involved with Calderdale Pride in the hope that I could make a difference. I also wanted an input into making pride an event that the whole community could be proud of.

Why is Pride important to you?
Pride started as a riot back in New York at The Stonewall and to this day we need to be visible as a community and educate all on all LGBTQ+ issues. Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution.

Being involved with Pride is a real joy, but not without its challenges. We are a strong, focused, driven & passionate set of individuals that came together as complete strangers back in 2018, with the common goal to bring a pride to the town that the whole community and our wider allies can be proud of. We have forged friendships and a real sense of family within the pride committee, its clearly true that you can actually choose your family/tribe.

What's one of your favourite memories?
In 2019 against all the odds & weather conditions pride returned to my home town of Halifax. We had over 2000 people attend on that day. As a queer boy from Halifax, this pride event was a complete moment for me personally. Calderdale Pride keeps evolving and growing which it has to do and should do. Calderdale Pride has also allowed me to grow my alter-ego Mr Rainbow, something I will be forever grateful for. Mr Rainbow gives me the opportunity to be up front and central, being incredibly visible and a beacon for good. We all needed role models as teenagers growing up, to see queer people being visible and unapologetic. So, if Mr Rainbow is that person to the teenagers of Halifax and the wider community, I feel that’s only a good thing. People deserve a safe & supportive environment to achieve their full potential.

Michael Nicholson
(he | him | his)
 Artist Liaison

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I got involved in Calderdale Pride as I have attended many pride celebrations all over the world and always want to do my bit to help organise the event.

I identify as a gay man and Pride means so much to me, it’s a way of celebrating what has come before and the future of the LGBTQ+ community. 

My role in the commitee is the Artist Liaison, I deal with speaking to the artist or their management, organising contracts and carring out requests for the artists. On the day itself I meet with the artist and escort them down to the main stage area and also help them get prepared for their big performance. 

What's one of your favourite memories?

One of the many Calderdale pride highlights has to be the 2019 event. The whole team worked so hard and this was the first time we all worked together and the first pride event that we all helped to create. All day the heavens opened and it rained all day! However that didn’t stop the crowd having a brilliant time. Just to see all the smiling faces of all ages having fun despite the rain, was such a joy and a proud movement.

Calderdale Pride means so much to me, and I cannot imagine not being apart of this fantastic friendly group.
 

Helen Gillespie
(she | her | hers)
Social Media / Engagement

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I got involved in Calderdale Pride when I was at a particularly difficult stage in my life, my dad had recently passed away and Liz Shaw, (who I have known for 20 years) text me and said she had seen a post on Facebook about helping set up a pride and we should go along. I went without many expectations and left as part of the committee with actions to set up all of our Social Media and start building a network of support and potential sponsors. It truly got me through one of the most difficult times of my life by having something else to focus on.

I wanted to get involved to build a Pride that was truly inclusive and a safe space for our community. Growing up in Halifax wasn't always the easiest in the 90's and early 00's but we have come so far as a town which now has so many LGBTQ+ visitors and safe spaces for people to visit.

I currently look after all of our socials, maintain engagement with community groups and businesses around Calderdale and am always on the lookout for a potential sponsor!

I think I bring some calm and reflection to an excitable group of individuals! We are so lucky to have such a mix of personalities and get along so well! I am always happy to support the others if anything needs picking up and I am all about making sure Calderdale Pride is inclusive for all. I feel passionately about keeping our Pride a free event for our community and ensuring we bring the best possible event to the town each year. It is tough at times to balance my career, my personal life and Pride activity but we all make it work! I am also Co-Chair of Lloyds Banking Group's LGBTQ+ network alongside everything else!

Why is Pride important to you?
Pride means being able to just be me, not having to hide any part of me and being able to live my life without fear of prejudice. I want us to live in a community where everyone feels completely safe being themselves, in particular, trans and non-binary young people. I have seen firsthand the struggles of friends and family not being able to live as their authentic self and how they can be treated by complete strangers who know nothing about them. I will always stand as an ally to those who need it. 

What's one of your favourite memories?
My favourite thing to do is spend time with my partner and pooch! Usually involving a walk, a pub, and naps! I live for the weekend!

My Calderdale Pride highlight was in The Piece Hall in 2022. After 3 years, we had made our return and we saw 22,000 pass through the gates. I was stood with the committee watching Divina De Campo and we all just hugged at the side of the stage waiting to go on and celebrate together as we had largely spent the day apart. Seeing the huge crowds, the pride and the success of that event was beyond anything I could have imagined. I still can't listen to the song we danced on the stage together without crying! (Together in Electric Dreams!)

Kelly Duffy
(she | her | hers)
 

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
 I am a proud ally, I have have many friends from the LGBTQ+ community. Sadly I have seen first hand how my friends and loved ones from the community have suffered and been discriminated against purely because of who they love.

I wanted to get involved in something that would allow me educate others and be a supportive alley and create a safe space for those in the community.

In 2018 the opportunity came up for me to get involved in Calderdale Pride and I thought this would be a fantastic chance to support the LGBTQ+ community. I am loving every minute of it and hope that we can continue to grow and support inclusivity in the community .

Why is Pride important to you?
After our first event in 2019, I've seen how many people enjoyed Pride. But when we returned in 2022 after the pandemic, I was emotional watching our younger community members feeling a sense of belonging and everyone seemed to have an amazing time.

Seeing everyone unite and come together in love with compassion for one another made me realise how important Pride is to not just me but everyone.

What's one of your favourite memories?
I have many! We have had some fantastic fundraisers over the years and of course Pride events themself.

One moment that stands out was in 2022 in The Piece Hall, Dame Shirley was doing her thing on stage singing Hopelessly Devoted and had the crowd joined in. Watching Calderdale mass karaoke was absolutely phenomenal, still gives me goosebumps!

Michael Lambert
(he | him | his)
 

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
 

Why is Pride important to you?
 

What's one of your favourite memories?
 

Reece Lumb
(he | him | his)
 

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I’m a bisexual man, born and raised in Halifax. My passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion has driven me to play my part in creating a more friendly and welcoming society—a society where people don’t feel like they have to prove themselves to fit in and instead feel they belong as their own individual, authentic selves.

I heard that a group were looking to create a Calderdale Pride. I knew I needed to get involved and help Halifax embrace the strength of its diversity and bring inclusion to the forefront.

Why is Pride important to you?
Since my first Pride, I’ve always admired how much Pride represents, from its message of protest and empowerment to the environment it creates, facilitating a safe space for people to express their authentic selves, connect with others to celebrate individualism and come together as a community.

After my first Pride, I’ve volunteered at every Pride event I’ve been to since because I’ve seen its power and how much it means and represents.
We still have so much more to do to support the LGBTQ+ community, spread awareness and stick together as allies, friends and humans.

What's one of your favourite memories?
Honestly, I still struggle to comprehend how massive Calderdale Pride has become. Still, the celebration on stage after the first Pride was such a wash of emotion, relief, and pride that we pulled off our first event (in the downpouring rain).

I am immensely proud of the same thread I see shining throughout each year… The community spirit: I view the day as one big bubble that every person helps form in one oway or another, creating moments and memories; getting bigger and bigger until popping into loads of amazing little bubbles of joy that fly throughout Calderdale, giving me yet another reason to be proud of where I’m from. 

Liz Jackson-Taylor
(she | her | hers)
Treasurer

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I'm a proud lesbian, who gets stuff done. I'm a proud Halifaxian, living here with my wife Christine, and our two cats.

I got involved with Calderdale Pride as I saw a call to arms on Facebook for people who want to get involved in supporting pride, and I wanted to help where I could. It made me think of the 'old' prides that were about in the mid-2000's, and how they helped me at that time. It's about giving back for me, and ensuring that there is a free event that young people can attend without fear and with full acceptance.

I had a really hard time when I came out, and it was the community around me that helped me through some really tough times, so I believe it's super important to do everything I can do to help anyone else going through difficult situations, and helping them to realise that there are rays of sunshine for you wherever you go.

In the team, I'm the treasurer, so I count the beans to make sure we're raising enough money from our events and fundraising activities to pay for our Pride event to have fantastic acts and performances for everyone. It works well for me, as I can do all the 'boring' stuff that no-one else would want to do! Although.... I also have to keep a tight hold of the purse strings, to stop the team from getting over-excited and going over-budget! (this means you Jackie....)

Why is Pride important to you?
Pride is still so relevant and needed. Society is so polarised now, there are extremes everywhere, including extreme negativity for LGBTQ+ people. Pride is a place you can be yourself, it's where you can be around people like you, and where you can be free. 

Music brings me joy, it's somewhere I can escape and become immersed in the sounds. Playing in two bands is a great way to have fun, and make people happy and dance about! 

What's one of your favourite memories?
I'm most proud of being who I am. No matter how much people try to take you down, rise above it. Rise above it, find your people and love yourself. You can be whoever you want to be, you can do whatever you want to do. Don't let any other f****r tell you otherwise.

Jackie Sharp
(she | her | hers)
Merchandising & Fundraising

Who are you, and why did you get involved?
I’ve been involved in CP since the very beginning. The first CP meetings were held in my bar in 2018, at first I was just offering a safe place for the initial meetings but my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted in! I’ve never had a Pride Family, growing up in the 70’s & 80’s in a small mining town – well you can imagine the queer community were not out and proud.

So the adventure with CP began and having never been part of anything like this before, I had to find my feet and covered a variety of roles in the first year. We all worked as a team finding each other’s strengths and now I look after the merchandise (I’m the Arthur Daley of the team) and help with fundraising.

I’d like to say I brought my life experiences to the team initially, however, I am constantly learning so much all of the time about what it takes to put such a great event together – you can teach an old dog new tricks! Its hard work, we are all volunteers and do this as well as holding down jobs and family life – but to see it all come together is so rewarding. When CP 2019 ended, I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud in my life of what we achieved with no experience and very little money - CP 2022 just blew me away!

Why is Pride important to you?
My wonderful wife becomes a CP widow the month running up to our Pride event but she knows how important this work is to me – and she supports us and helps out too – she was Liberty X’s private chauffeur in 2022!

So that’s me, one of the OG’s of Team CP. I found my Pride family and they are simply the best! I can’t wait to see what the future brings, our event this year (2023) is looking amazing and long may Calderdale Pride continue.

 

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