Congleton Pride began in 2018 after Ronan Clayton attended Macclesfield Pride’s first event. Ronan was lucky enough to be addressed by Richard Walton, who was leafleting for his political party, the same day, and Ronan took the opportunity to ask if there could be a Pride event set up in Congleton. Richard was happy to help. They first floated the idea on social media, receiving a really positive response, before taking the idea to the town council.
The town council supported the idea. A committee was established, including Ronan Clayton, Richard Walton, Caitlyn Walton, Gordon Self and others, after creating a new Facebook group to attract members and appeal for help. It gained over 200 members within 24 hours, and today there are over 1.8K members.
In 2019 the first Congleton Pride event took place with Drag Queen Davina de Campo as the headline act. In the beginning the stage faced the pedestrian area of Bridge Street and no roads were closed. There was no evening event, just a celebratory pub crawl by those involved. They decided they’d like a Congleton Pride the next year and subsequently started work on raising money so it could go ahead. Shaun Radcliffe and Ronan Clayton approached James Cheffings, former drag queen ‘Stella Black’, who had just moved into the town centre.
In February 2020, drag queen Miss Blair hosted the Bingo at the Vale Club, the first fundraising event for Congleton Pride. By March 2020 we were all in lockdown as the coronavirus epidemic hit the world. Meetings and a Pride event were out of the question this year. But not wanting to be beaten the Congleton Pride meetings continued via Zoom, online. Many new members joined, excited for the possibility that a 2021 Pride event could
By 2021 a new improved stage for the event sat on the crossroads on High Street (next to the pedestrian area) facing down towards the bus station and Mountbatten Way, a place where it has remained ever since. Drag queen Stella Black came out of retirement as the headline act, and the Makers market lined the pedestrian area. There was a children’s fairground outside the Town Hall for the younger visitors. Even with the rain the event was very successful. The day ended in the nightclub Bamboogy with Stella Black, Miss Blair, and those lucky enough to have tickets. The fundraising events continued with Xmas, Valentines, St Patricks day events (to name a few) hosted by drag queens Stella Black and a new Congleton queen Fonda D (aka Ronan Clayton).
By 2022 the Main Pride Event saw Drag Queens Stella Black, Fonda D, GemiTy (debut queen) take to the stage. Our favourite Andy Hofton got everyone singing, and the Gay Gordons Scottish dancers got people to join in with the dancing. There was also an additional community stage added in the pedestrian area. The evening event made its debut in the town hall with special recognition for our sponsors Pear Hospitality, LOGURU, and Kanga Health amongst others.
2022 continued with fundraising events at Radleys (Lion & Swan) with ‘SpookDragular’ featuring Stella Black, Fonda D and GemiTy. Many other events in Congleton and surrounding areas with Stella Black and Fonda D hosting, provide further fund raising. Both drag queens branched out to private bookings too. ‘Caffeine Connections’ became the first monthly coffee afternoons aimed at the LGBTQIA+ community, providing a safe place for people to chat informally and make connections. On the last Wednesday of the month, 2-5pm we bring together and support the community at Bluey’s Bar (accessible at the Town Hall entrance). This can often be the first point of contact of people of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies too, who need support or friendship.
2023 promises to be a bigger and better Pride Event with a variety of acts on both stages. The evening event ‘After Hours’ will have the addition of VIP seats, which includes dining at Bluey’s before the evening’s entertainment commences, hosted by Stella Black.
Come and make history with us!