Gay rugby legend Gareth Thomas and referee Nigel Owens are supporting Cardiff Mardi Gras.

The 11th festival will be held on Saturday September 4th and 40,000 people are expected to attend.

Although the main event will be held in Coopers Field, it will be preceded by a week of sports events, performances, films and exhibitions.

Owens, who has just been announced as patron of the festival, said: “We have all come a long way in recent years but there is still much to be achieved. Cardiff Mardi Gras is both a great celebration but also a beacon of the fair, diverse and equal society we all long and strive for.”

He added: “The world of sport can be a difficult place for people to feel confident and comfortable about their sexuality, especially young people. I am particularly pleased that this year Cardiff-Wales Mardi Gras puts inclusivity in sport at the heart of the celebrations.”

His fellow rugby star Gareth Thomas is also supporting the event, which will have a special focus on sports this year.

Richard Newton, chair of the volunteer organising committee for Mardi Gras, said: “This is now a highlight of the summer in Wales and we are keen to see as many people from across our diverse communities come along and have a great day. I am really excited by the events we are also planning during the festival week.”