Gay actor, Sir Ian Mckellen has been named a patron for this year’s Oxford Pride

His support was welcomed by organisers of the day which is expected to attract hundreds of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to Oxford on Saturday 15 July 2006.

Sir Ian said: “Whatever gay people gather public to celebrate their sense of community, there are two important results. First onlookers can be impressed by our confidence and determination to be ourselves and, second, gay people, of whatever age can be comforted by the occasion to take the first steps towards coming out and leaving the closet forever behind.

“I send my love to all members of Oxford Pride, their sponsors and supporters, of which I am proud to be one.”

Sir Ian’s’ film career spans five decades, and has appeared in over 35 feature films, more recently remembered for his role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ian has a busy summer ahead promoting not only the Da Vinci Code, but also X Men 3, both r

released this month, and later this year we’ll hear his voice in the animated film Flushed.

The thespian is no stranger to gay pride events, this year he is the director of EuroPride London: The Show, and previously he has been the Grand Marshall in San Francisco and marched in Johannesburg in the first ever post-apartheid rally.

Oxford Pride Chairman Rob Jordan said “To get backing from such a high profile figure is just amazing. The smaller regional Prides are often overlooked but to gain Sir Ian McKellens’ support shows that Oxford is being firmly cemented on the Pride Calendar.”