The Mayor of Southend will lead a flag raising ceremony in anticipation of a week to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in the town.

The beginning of a programme of event as part of Southend Pride will commence at the Civic Centre in Victoria Avenue on Friday.

Derek Jarvis, mayor of Southend, said: "Even today, when LGBT people in the UK have greater rights and social acceptance than ever before, we must recognise that there are still people within the community who are persecuted, mocked and attacked simply for their sexual orientation or their gender identity.

“Neither should we forget that gay relationships are still criminalised in over 70 countries and punishable by death in ten of those.

“Southend Pride is an act of solidarity with LGBT people in our town and across the world and I am delighted to see its return in Southend.”

Festivities will begin with an opening party at 8pm on Saturday 14 July at The Railway Hotel in Clifftown Road, and continue until Saturday 21 July, when the Southend Pride Parade will march from Royal Square to arrive at Warrior Square for an afternoon of music, food and entertainment.

The Festival will close with an after party at The Cliff pub on Hamlet Road from 5pm.

Dan Turpin, Southend Pride Chair, said: “We would like to record our thanks to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and all the residents in Southend for showing support and enthusiasm for Pride in Southend.

“We have a great, positive and diverse community in Southend and Pride is about celebrating it and showing inclusivity and positivity, no matter what your sexuality or gender identity."