Bicester held its first ever pride event over the weekend, with more than 400 people from across the county and beyond turning up to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

The event was held at The Nightingale pub in Langford Village on September 25 and 26. It featured musical tribute acts, food vans, stalls from local businesses, a drag performance along with a DJ set on both days.

Although Oxfordshire has had a number of Pride festivals, with regular events in Oxford, Abingdon, Banbury and Witney, this is the first such festival in Bicester.

Pride festivals are an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and also help to raise awareness of issues LGBTQ+ people still face the world over.

Christina Riley, founder and director of Bicester Pride, said: “Bicester has never had an LGBT event of this nature before and that is why it is so important.

“Not only to celebrate LGBTQ+ identities but also to remind people that LGBTQ+ people are under threats around the world.”

Bicester Pride initially started its life as a Facebook group, aimed at uniting the LGBTQ+ community in the town and providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to meet.

The landlords of The Nightingale pub, Kieran O’Brian and Alister Wilson, said it meant a lot to them to be asked to host the first official Bicester Pride.

Mr Wilson said: “When we were approached by Bicester Pride it was initially the question of ‘what if Bicester had a pride?’. After those conversions it transpired that we needed it and it has been absolutely incredible.

“The support has been unreal. I am lost for words to be quite honest.”

Mr O’Brian said: “This event has meant so much for so many people. For us, this is a voice for so many people and it has demonstrated that with the amount of ticket sales.

“We could have double sold the tickets but we restricted them, so hopefully next year there will be bigger and better things.

The event was full sold out on both days with people of all ages, and a few four legged pets, attending.

Cara Duggen, 26, described how the event as had ‘great atmosphere’ and was ‘well organised’.

She said: “This is our first pride and it is absolutely fantastic. If they do another one next year we will absolutely go.”

Sarah Taylor-Hunt, 32, visited Bicester Pride with her wife.

Mrs Taylor-Hunt said: “It has a really nice vibe and its good to see the community mixing.”