The nation’s most popular lower-case gay day out, plymouth pridevent, has been granted charity status.

Supported by, among others, Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, the charity’s committee has adopted a new constitution and appointed a new chairman, Mark Ayres.

The committee can now make donations to other organisations which also work with Plymouth’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) community.

The first such donation, a cheque for £50, was presented by Mr Ayres to the hardship fund of the Eddystone Trust, which provides information, training, and support for people in Devon and Cornwall who are affected by HIV and AIDS.

2007 was the first year that a large-scale Pride festival took place in the South West, and thousands of people attended.

A long weekend of fun activities, ranging from sumo wrestling and line dancing to a bouncy castle and a picnic on Dartmoor alongside LGBT information, advice, and support services, was a huge success.

Local and regional media across Devon and Cornwall reported the event in an upbeat and responsible way, which helped to raise a public awareness of LGBT issues in the community.

plymouth prideevent 2008 takes place in The Guildhall on Saturday, June 7th.

Before then, a Queen of Hearts ball will be held at Ha! Ha! Bar and Canteen, Plymouth, on Wednesday, February 13th, to raise funds.

Details on on their website.

Mr Ayres said: “I am honoured that the committee have put their trust in me to be their new chairman in these exciting and progressive times for the LGBT community in Plymouth.

“I will be doing all I can to help develop plymouth prideevent 2008 as we celebrate diversity in Plymouth and the wider area of Devon and Cornwall and help people to accept others as they are.”

Mr Ayres said the committee was keen to recruit new volunteers of all ages, especially women, to bring fresh ideas and help it to move forward.

plymouth prideevent 2008 is supported by Plymouth City Council, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Out Youth Group, Plymouth Pride Forum, Plymouth Sound Radio, The Swallow public house, Zeros Nightclub, Eddystone Trust, Intercom Trust, Fyne Times, In Other Words Bookshop, She Bang, University of Plymouth, The College of St Mark and St John, and the TUC South West.