Sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) was delighted to welcome Carry-On star and EastEnder Barbara Windsor MBE to the launch of their float in Brighton’s Carry-On themed Lesbian and Gay Pride event today.

The THT float this year, themed as a saucy campsite shower block, was sponsored by Tourism East Sussex (TES.)

Barbara Windsor, who joined the THT float for Brighton Pride said: “I’m so excited to be on the float with Terrence Higgins Trust for Brighton Pride. We’re having a right Carry-on! And in support of a great cause too.”

Over 50 floats, hundreds of look-a-like characters and over 35,000 locals and visitors joined the three-and-a-half mile procession through Brighton to celebrate the gay community and raise funds for THT’s services.

Over 100,000 people also met at Preston Park where THT’s Brighton team manned a stand to promote their sexual health campaigns and services and distributed over 10,000 free condom packets with the message ‘CARRY ON…Using Condoms’.

Mick Sykes, gay mens community worker from THT in Brighton said:

“Summer Pride just gets bigger and better each year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to raise THT’s profile and promote our services locally to thousands of people taking part.

“One in eight gay and bisexual men on the Brighton scene are now HIV positive, so it’s more important than ever that we raise awareness of HIV and our services.”

Sponsors, Tourism East Sussex (TES) supported the THT float as part of its ‘Rainbow Welcome Initiative’ designed to promote Brighton as a destination for high spending LGBT visitors. Tourism East Sussex is promoting cultural attractions and outdoor activities across East Sussex, to encourage repeat visits and extend the length of visitor stays.

TES chair, Nick Head said: “Events like Pride have a positive impact on the local economy as visitors book accommodation and use shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs. But it doesn’t end there, as many local residents welcome friends and family over the weekend, to take part in the festivities.”

“In sponsoring the THT float we remind local people and visitors that the area beyond Brighton is well worth extra days for exploring the fabulous gardens, castles and historic houses, and enjoying the cultural events and rural walks which we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep.”

Terrence Higgins Trust will also be hosting a Pride funded ‘Jazz in the Square’ event in the heart of the ‘gay village’ tomorrow, funded by a Pride grant and supported by the New Steine Hoteliers, who generously donated to the event and raised funds for the charity. The actress Denise Black, who starred in Queer as Folk and Coronation Street will be singing at the event.

Voluntary donations can be made to THT on the day.