RAINBOW flags flew proudly across the town centre as the march towards equality continued at Bury Pride.

Hundreds of people turned out at the town hall draped in the familiar colours to celebrate diversity at the event during its second year.

The day began with the seventh Walking Rainbow parade through the streets before guests were treated to an array of musical performances and speeches, including from singer and actress Toyah Willcox, who headlined the show.

The outdoor stage also hosted The Manchester Gay and Lesbian Chorus, Divas in Denial, fire eaters and Utopia UK, who were all compèred by Miss Sal Ford.

And LGBT groups and other organisations set up stalls and chatted to people about the day.

One of those people was Jen Yockney, from Manchester-based LGBT group BiPhoria, who identifies as bi-sexual.

She said: "We try and travel up to all the different Prides across Greater Manchester. I think there are about 12 different prides this year and all of them have a different feel.

"Manchester Pride is very much for over-18s but here in Bury there are so many people here are like 12, 14 or 16 and many of them are probably at a stage of their lives when they are working out whether they are bi-sexual or gay.

"And here they have a place that is safe. It is not right that some people do not feel safe enough to go out in 2018."

Gavin Macer travelled all the way from Cardiff to set up a stall selling rainbow flags, hats and umbrellas.

He said: "We do a lot of Prides and music festivals. I have come all the way from Cardiff.

"We do so many events but we do a lot of Pride events simply because they are always good fun.

"You have got to keep events like this going. It is great for people to be able to express themselves and it is always done in a friendly and lovely manner.

"I have had a great time, especially with selling umbrellas early doors when it was raining."

In a speech on the main stage, Bury North MP James Frith thanked everyone for turning out to the event and all those who helped to organise it, including Proud of Gayness, the LGBT Employees Group at Bury Council and Greater Manchester Police.

He said: "The whole point of today and the Pride movement is to celebrate our LGBT community.

"And in doing so, empower and bring the community together and to continue to fight for equality for all.

"Equality for all is what brings me here today and repeat equalities of opportunity for all is what I call for next.

"We have seen great strides of equality in recent time. The Equalities Act, civil partnerships and now we have equal marriage. But we've more to do.

"In this growing community and our wider society, we're all learning about the great scope and depths of humankind.

"Today we celebrate this great range of human identity in our humankind. But let us go deeper to the well of kindness.

"Too often, our LGBT community, and those yet to identify, experience behaviour and attitudes that re-tread the failings of history in grappling with equality, human, sexuality and identity not the benefits of our learning.

"So I say — I am your brother and I stand with you, come rain or shine."

Bury Pride was launched last year with the aim of bringing people out on to the streets to celebrate equality and diversity.