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The Pride of Thruxton

PRIDE Thruxton

Richard Smart is the leader of a recently created volunteer group in Thruxton that have been assisting the vulnerable and entire community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Richard has written to us to share information, and a video from the Pride event hosted in the village last week:

“Last week in the village we held LGBT Pride week with a Pride Music Quiz, a Pride Fancy Dress, house decorating and then a big event on Saturday which was the Thruxton Pride virtual Derby.

I wrote the commentary and recorded it over last year’s Epsom Derby footage. Our articles were published in the Gay Times. Through our efforts we were able to donate £300 to a charity called Emerald50 whose purpose is simple – to give direct support to grassroots women’s and LGBT+ organisations that otherwise might struggle to attract international donations.

Emerald Life Insurance matched our donation to £600. £600 is two or three weeks funding for one of Emerald50 projects, which is called Free Gender, a women’s sexual violence refuge in Khayaleitsha, a township of 500,000 people outside Cape Town.

Free Gender provides a safe space and advice for women who have been subject to physical or sexual violence, including corrective rape. It’s run by an older women who was a major part of the fight against apartheid, Funeka Soldat, who moved into the township.

Support includes advice, counselling and small grants to women who have no money at all have the ability to get out of their current situation. For them, every £100 is a huge amount that can change the lives of a number of abused women.

We also made donations to the Thruxton Village Hall and Church.

The winners of the Fancy Dress were Jess and Max Lopez-Valido and daughter Sienna who got naked but covered their decency with rainbows!”

Richard Smart is “the lunatic with pink hair and a rainbow shirt”.

Richard’s full article from The Gay Times is below:

Whilst being just a small village in Hampshire of around 600 residents Thruxton prides itself on being an inclusive community which looks after the interests and welfare of all its residents. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 Crisis in which a small group of volunteers have rallied together to assist and entertain all its residents.

As with any small village Thruxton has residents who are part of the LGBTQ+ plus community some of whom are open about their sexuality and others who I suspect are not. One very open bisexual is 15-year-old Natasha Richardson who alerted me the fact it was Pride month and asked if I would consider doing anything. I jumped at the chance for two key reasons. Firstly, I recognise the importance of helping the youngsters in the community regardless of their sexuality and secondly and equally important is to reassure the community that we are inclusive and respect everyone’s personal preferences. As I said I am sure that there are some members of the community who are reluctant to be open about their sexuality for fear they may receive a backlash from the village. It’s vital that we show support and comfort to these residents and make them feel that they are very much a part of our community..

And so, we have hosted Thruxton Pride week this week. Residents have decorated their houses with Pride Flags, we hosted an Online Pride Music Quiz and a Pride Fancy Dress competition which had some fabulous entries. We also have a couple of our younger residents baking Pride Cupcakes for the residents to enjoy.

As well as celebrating Pride and supporting our community I felt it would also be fitting to donate to an LGBTQ+ Charity or Project. I contacted my great friend Steve Wardlaw who is Chairman of the award-winning Inclusive Insurance provider Emerald Life to see if he had any ideas. Steve suggested that perhaps we could donate to his companies Charity Emerald50 whose purpose is simple – to give direct support to grassroots women’s and LGBT+ organisations that otherwise might struggle to attract international donations. Having agreed on a Charity I then had to decide on the best way to raise funds. I decided that in the absence of the Epsom Derby which would have been run on Saturday 6th I would create my own Thruxton Pride Derby. I came up with 13 Pride related names for the horses and then asked people to donate by picking the horse they hoped would win. It was agreed that half the money raised would be spent on prizes and half would be donated to Emerald50 with Steve matching our donation. On Saturday 6th June we hosted the Thruxton Pride Derby and raffle and raised £300 which with match funding is £600. £600 is two or three weeks funding for one of Emerald50 projects, which is called Free Gender, a women’s sexual violence refuge in Khayaleitsha, a township of 500,000 people outside Cape Town. Free Gender provides a safe space and advice for women who have been subject to physical or sexual violence, including corrective rape. It’s run by an older women who was a major part of the fight against apartheid, Funeka Soldat, who moved into the township. Support includes advice, counselling and small grants to women who have no money at all have the ability to get out of their current situation. For them, every £100 is a huge amount that can change the lives of a number of abused women.

It has been a fun week in Thruxton which has also allowed us to send out a strong message of support for all our LGBTQ residents. Richard Smart – Leader of the Thruxton Virus Volunteers.

The Thruxton Pride Derby
LGBT GG
Rainbow Rising
Emerald Life
Higgins Horse
Stonewaller
Nowt as Queer as Folk
Love and Pride
Deliberately Steve
Its OK to be Gay
Don’t Hide Feel Pride
The Conclusion is Inclusion
Not Perverse to be Diverse
Elimination of Discrimination

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