A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief (pride season issue)

While the country sizzles in the grip of a heatwave which shows no sign of abating any time soon, there’s no better weather in which to celebrate as Pride season gets underway.

For our Pride cover story, I paid a visit to the boys from the Bristol Bisons rugby team, on what was the hottest day of the year so far! As such, they didn’t take much coaching to strip off and, well, get covered from head to toe in multi-coloured rainbow paints - it was a good idea at the time!

Bristol Bisons RFC is the South West’s only inclusive and gay-friendly rugby team and since 2005 have offered an open and welcoming environment to players and supporters of all abilities and backgrounds regardless of sexuality to Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.

When I arrived at the Bisons training ground near Cribbs Causeway the boys were already having fun by cooling down on a hastily inflated water slide in just their swim shorts. What a hard life! It was their annual sports day after all, so we’ll allow for such frolicking. Dragging them away from their watersports was harder still, but with paints in hand, I dived straight in. After a quick briefing, the rainbow coloured paints were opened, and the air filled with colour.

My idea for the shoot was to celebrate Pride, team spirit and the importance in sport bringing people from across the community together. We also interviewed some of the team to find out how they came to join the Bisons, their best rugby stories, and what Pride means to them.

Speaking of which, last weekend’s Bristol Pride, one of the most popular festivals outside London, was a winner this year, championing equality and diversity across South West England. Our cover boys, the Bristol Bisons RFC marched in the parade and everyone partied into the night with headline acts including Alexandra Burke and Snap performing on the main stage. Q&C friends’ Shout Out Radio bagged themselves some selfies, so I hear.  

Bristol Pride also hosted its annual dog show called Paws up for Pride. Keep a lookout for photos from the day and much more on their social media channels.

If you’ve still yet to decide where to celebrate Pride this year, and fancy something a bit different, here’s a few ideas:

Why not party in true Queen and Country style at Happy Valley Pride, a seven-day festival, celebrating LGBT+ people in Hebden Bridge. It’s taking place from the 6th to the 12th August. Tickets sold out fast last year, so get them whilst you can by visiting their site: https://happyvalleypride.com/.

If you find yourself still craving more after all of that and you’re up for a party then head down south to enjoy Weston-super-Mare Pride which is on the 28th July.

Devon hosts Totnes Pride on Saturday 1st September, brought to you by community organisation Proud2Be. There will be a colourful high street procession, a free family-friendly day event and a fun-filled after party. Find out more here: https://totnespride.co.uk/ 

For those of you feeling the after effects of back to back socialising in the summer heat, we have on hand our newly appointed beauty expert and Temple Spa’s senior lifestyle consultant, Chris Parkes. Chris will help nurse your skin back to life the Temple Spa way while recommending the best products at affordable prices.

We also have Luke Marlowe retracing the hallowed steps of the writer Virginia Woolf across Cornwall, Sussex and London in our new series Literary Footsteps. It’s a definite must-read to find out more about this extraordinary author as well as a handy travel guide to some wonderful locations.

So whether you’re partying through pride season this super-hot July or simply walking the dogs to the local beer garden, stay cool, be kind to one another, and celebrate with pride.

Happy Pride season from all the team at Queen and Country magazine.