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Housing estate’s Pride march will ‘leave a legacy’ for future neighbours

Organiser Ben Goodwin hopes to ‘leave a legacy’ by officiating the annual event as the world’s shortest Pride march.

A housing estate in Warwickshire completed its “brilliant and amazing” 80-metre Pride March – which is thought to be the shortest in the world – on Saturday, and has plans to become a new Guinness World Record next year.

The annual event, run by residents of Batts Close in Rugby, hopes to mark its fifth year anniversary in 2024 by becoming the new world record holder for the shortest Pride march.

“I’m under no illusions that we’re all going to live here for the rest of our lives, but if we can leave that as a legacy for the people who move into our house after we’ve gone – to have that little blue plaque at the end of the street would so cool to leave that and to be enshrined,” organiser Ben Goodwin said.

Batts Close in Rugby with the road painted in the colours of the Pride flag and rainbow bunting
Batts Close residents painted the road in the Pride flag colours and donned rainbow bunting (Ben Goodwin)

The 38-year-old also spoke of the “incredible” event complete with a buffet containing rainbow-themed food, a drag queen-led parade and a touching speech from his partner, Ben Porcel.

“My partner Ben gave a lovely speech at the beginning and said ‘we’re really grateful we live on a road like this and we know that not everybody in the world is lucky enough to live somewhere where they can celebrate Pride as freely as this’,” Mr Goodwin told the PA news agency.

He hopes the event, which garnered support from neighbouring roads and attracted almost 70 people, helps to encourage members of the LGBTQ community to be themselves and feel accepted by their neighbours.

“It’s just incredible – and while I’m accepted by my family, or friends or colleagues – but I think when you’re accepted by your neighbours as well it means you can just be yourself 100% of the time,” he said.

“Having [your neighbours] as allies empowers you in your everyday life because I know that whatever happens I know that they’re going to stick up for me and if anything bad happens, they’re always going to have our backs.”

He added that having neighbours who “think the same way you do” is a “really warm fuzzy feeling” and hopes that more neighbourhoods are involved in more Pride events.

“If we can spread a little bit of that love to streets that are nearby and to people who live locally, then I’m all for it because I think everybody deserves to live on a street like ours and I think everyone should live on a street like ours,” he explained.

Mr Porcel, who gave a speech ahead of the march, said he felt emotional seeing the number of people who joined the event.

This is the fourth year that we’ve done it and I’m just amazed,” he told PA.

“You have a whole road, a whole community, that comes out which very selflessly tells you that you’re loved.

“I was saying a few words and I wasn’t necessarily getting emotional by the words that I was saying I was getting emotional just by seeing everyone there.”

The Batts Close Pride march was initially started by Mr Goodwin’s neighbours and encourages people in other neighbourhoods to start their own events to support individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.

“If people are thinking ‘I’d love to be able to do this’… just do it, because I can tell you it will make them feel amazing,” he said.

He added: “It’s just amazing that we live somewhere we can do something like this and we don’t take it for granted.

“I say to more streets, be more like Batts Close.”

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