CLACTON Pride returned over the weekend with thousands of people in attendance.

The festival, which took place on the Greensward, in Marine Parade West, saw more than 9,000 people take part in the celebrations.

Festival-goers enjoyed a great line-up of musicians and entertainers from noon until late.

Faith Louise hosted the event and was joined on stage by Jill Nalder who inspired the hit BBC show, It’s A Sin, as well as EastEnders icon Heather Peace.

People came from far and wide to partake in the festivities, with the furthest hailing all the way from Spain.

Cheryl Piper, the organiser of Clacton Pride, said: “What a fantastic day the sun was shining and the people of Clacton, and some from further afield, came for the weekend just to attend our event.

“It is always a great atmosphere and each year it gets bigger and bigger.

“The feedback we get is mostly positive, of course you get the comments like when is straight pride. This event is for everyone not only the LGBTQ community.

“It's about showing your support, we all know and love someone in the LGBTQ+ community and you would think in 2024 they would be more accepted.”

This year’s Pride event coincided with Armed Forces Day and organisers took time to remember soldiers who were both in the army and the LGBTQ+ community.

Cheryl added: “24 years ago the forces allowed gay men to be in the army.

“Before this, it was punishable by jail time as it was a criminal offence.

“Clacton Pride took time to remember those brave men and women at the event.

“We should all be celebrating not only pride but Armed Forces Day, especially this year being the 80th anniversary of the D-day landings.

“Those men fought fascism head-on. Taking on a dictator and his followers that not only killed Jewish people, Roma travellers and disabled people but he also killed a huge number of gay men.

“They will always be remembered and supported by Clacton Pride.”

The organiser would also like to thank the businesses that donated to the raffle.

Cheryl said: “We would also like to send a huge thank you to the local businesses that gave us donations to our raffle, especially Clacton Enterprise Centre who gave us £250 cash for someone to win. And all the volunteers especially Clacton litter pickers.”