The chair of Pride London, the largest Pride event in the UK, has announced he will stand down from the board after 18 years of involvement in the event.

After being registered as a charity in 2004, Pride London appointed Paul Birrell Chair of the Board in 2005.

2010’s Pride London attracted a million visitors and became the largest outdoor event in the UK.

The Pride London board has given Birrell the honorary title of ‘Chair Emeritus’, a title they say will recognise his huge contribution to Pride but does not carry any formal responsibilities.

Vice Chair Dr Patrick Williams, who has been with Pride London for over five years, has been appointed to act as Chair to steer the charity through to WorldPride 2012 on 7 July.

Announcing his decision, Mr Birrell said said: “Leaving Pride London after 18 years was a difficult decision but with plans firmly in place for WorldPride 2012 now felt like the best time to step down and I’m confident I’m leaving the charity in good hands. I wish Pride London every success in the future and cannot wait to enjoy WorldPride later this year.”

Speaking about Paul Birrell’s retirement Dr Williams said: “We were all very much saddened at Paul’s departure from the charity, as not only has he been a momentously successful Chair but also a great friend to many within the LGBT community here in London, around the UK and across the World. Although we accept his decision to retire and wish him all the best for the future he will be greatly missed.”

Pride London also announced two new appointments to the board. Craig Taylor has been appointed with responsibility for managing Pride’s relationship with the Bars and Clubs within Soho and Greater London.

Alastair Crow joins the team in order to manage Pride’s relationships with its LGBT stakeholder and community groups. They join the existing seven Board Directors responsible for Pride’s operations and governance.