Belfast Telegraph

In Pictures: Belfast hosts UK’s first Disability Pride celebration

By Patricia Devlin

Belfast city centre was transformed into a sea of smiles on Saturday as hundreds turned out for the UK’s first ever Disability Pride parade.

Bands, floats and entertainers swept through the city centre in the colourful afternoon march which saw over 800 representatives from 18 charities turn out in support of those living with disabilities.

Members of the Special Olympics and Irish Amputee World Cup football teams were there, while Britain’s Got Talent Strictly Wheels duo Gary and Paula entertained crowds on the family festival’s main stage at Belfast City Hall.

DJ Alan Simpson compered the event which included an open air concert, sports demonstrations and gourmet food.

Cross-community performing arts charity Skyzdalimit Omagh put on a spectacular performance, as did pop band Saffyre.

Belfast was chosen as the first UK city to host the unique event, after its US based organisers were impressed by the work of Northern Ireland based Trip-Ability website. The website, owned by Downpatrick man Michael Holden, allows users from around the world share experiences of travel and products with the disabled community.

The international celebration first began in Chicago 10 years ago and keeps on growing. Last year, Madrid and Berlin joined the network, holding the very first European Disability Parade events.

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