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July 14, 2020 Malcolm Struthers0

We have launched a series of videos featuring LGBTQ+ friendly stories for children across Calder Valley and beyond – as part of our series of digital events for 2020. The four special stories all have an LGBTQ+ focus and have been read by friends and supporters of Happy Valley Pride.

And Tango Makes Three

The story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who create a family together.

Authors: Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Illustrator: Henry Cole. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Read by Sean Pert.

Julian is a Mermaid

An award-winning picture book about self-confidence and love.

Author: Jessica Love, Illustrator: Jessica Love. Published by Candlewick Press.

Read by Terry Logan

Frockodile

The wonderful story of Cliff, the crocodile who wants to wear a dress.

Author: Jeanne Willis, Illustrator: Stephanie Laberis. Published by Hodder Children’s Books.

Read by Jenny Wilson.

Mommy, Mama and Me

One of the only original board books about gay parents! 

Author: Lesléa Newman, Illustrator: Carol Thompson. Published by Tricycle Press.

Read by Lisa Tregellas.

Chair Tim Whitehead commented: 

“A key part of what we do at Happy Valley Pride is engaging with all parts of the community. As part of our digital focus for 2020, we wanted to provide something that teachers and parents can use to engage with children using stories with an LGBTQ+ focus. These wonderful, inspiring and powerful stories are read by friends of Happy Valley Pride and we hope children (and grown-ups) will enjoy listening to them. Thank you to the authors for their kind permission, and to our special storytellers.”

Check out what else is happening as part of Happy Valley Pride Digital.



June 29, 2020 Malcolm Struthers0

Shantay, you stay!

RuPaul’s Drag Race winner, Jinkx Monsoon will host an exclusive, free, online show, especially for Happy Valley Pride in July 2020.

Jinkx won season 5 of the mega-hit show and is one of the biggest stars to come from the Drag Race phenomenon. 

An accomplished singer and comedian performing shows worldwide, Jinkx tours extensively throughout the UK – most recently selling out shows in Manchester and London.

More details will be announced very soon.



May 18, 2020 Malcolm Struthers0
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme this year is kindness, so let’s think about being kind to yourself!

There has never been a more vital time to make sure you are looking after your mental health. There are so many hints and tips around on maintaining your mental wellbeing during these difficult times. Remember there are no hard and fast rules! Everyone is different, we are all coping with different challenges and living in very different circumstances. So here I offer some of the common themes I have noticed and offer up some of my own thoughts.

Pick and choose what you think may be useful for you! Anything you do will be beneficial. Do what you can and don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Also take a look at some of our specific examples of how you can keep active, positive and entertained.

Avoid news overload

Obviously it is important to keep up-to-date with developments but it is useful to set limits. The constant flow of information is overwhelming online, on TV, on the radio – the news is everywhere. Perhaps catch updates in the morning then again in the evening. You won’t miss anything if you are not continually monitoring the situation. Also stick to reputable news sources – that friend on Facebook may mean well but sharing unfounded conspiracy theories really doesn’t help anyone!

Maintain a routine

Everyone has experienced a huge shift in lifestyle in recent times and this has a significant impact on your overall health. Try to maintain some kind of routine. Go to bed at the same time (ish) each night, try and stick to three meals a day, go for a lunchtime walk etc. If you notice your routine slipping, try and get it back on track as quickly as possible. For example, I noticed I was starting to have lunch earlier and earlier each day, when it got as early as 10.30am I realised I needed to reset my routine!

Express gratitude

Try and think of three things each day you are grateful for. Doing this regularly can help you feel more positive and optimistic. Feeling ‘grateful’ isn’t always easy, especially at the moment, but focusing on the good things in your life really will give you a boost each day. I try to take a few minutes each day to write down a brief list of things I am grateful for or happy about. Often it is something simple as seeing a deer in the woods, that there is a new series of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, or I managed to get out for a run. 

Organize your mind

Writing down what you have to do each day will help you plan more efficiently and have a more productive day. Writing it down gets it out of your head, and a list often seems more manageable than random thoughts. It doesn’t have to be detailed or extensive. I try and create a quick note on my phone of what I need to do each day and also what I want to do each day. 

Organize your space

We all have different living situations. Living alone or with others, try and ensure a sense or organization where possible. You don’t have to be ultra-tidy but keeping on top of household chores will stop things becoming overwhelming down the line. If you live with others and you have some space for yourself, try to create a bit of sanctuary where you can go to relax and unwind on your own.

Stay connected

Technology is a wonderful thing and helps us all keep connected. You can video call friends and family, join virtual quizzes and much more. You can also keep in touch with a simple text or WhatsApp. If you are really old fashioned you can even phone someone. However, all this can also be overwhelming so don’t feel bad about not joining everything or jeeping in constant touch with everyone you have ever met. Like most things in life, it is about balance! And this relates directly to the next tip…

Do not compare yourself to others 

You may think everyone is coping with the current situation better than you. It seems to me everyone is using their spare time to bake banana bread, do all the DIY jobs they have been putting off, learn a new skill etc. I have mainly been watching Peaky Blinders and Schitt’s Creeks – and that is fine! What people put out on their on social media is rarely truly representative of how people really feel. Everyone will have their ups and downs.

Be active

Whatever that means for you! That may be a one-mile jog or running a half marathon. Maybe it is a Joe Wicks PE class or maybe it is dancing around your living room. Trying to do a bit more each time is great, but then if you skip a day that is fine as well. The key thing is to just to keep moving. 

Everything in moderation

Alcohol and food sales through the roof and it is unsurprising we are seeking comfort in a glass of wine and slice of pizza. When this becomes a bottle of wine and full pizza every night it may be time to cut back a little (I am speaking from experience). Try and keep the treats for the weekend for example. Though again don’t worry too much if you slip up. Just try and get back into a sensible routine.

Get some head space

Take some time each day to give yourself some headspace. This could be meditation, mindfulness, brain training or whatever works for you. If you haven’t tried these things before, give it a go. Give yourself a dedicated slot just for your head – even just five minutes will make a difference. There is lots of information online and loads of apps available. I try and do a short hypnosis session every day, using an app to have 30 minutes to relax and think positive thoughts and I always feel better afterwards.

Give yourself a break

Working from home, trying your best at home schooling, maintaining your studying or whatever it is you may be doing, regular breaks will help you feel refreshed and come back to your tasks with more energy and focus. With us all spending most of our time at home, it can be hard to separate things out. Just going to a different room, or in to the garden if you have one or sticking your head out the window if you don’t, can really help.

Really, give yourself a break! 

This is the most important thing! GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re having a difficult day. We all have to adjust to the “new normal”. What is happening is a big deal. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel low, or if you haven’t achieved everything you wanted to or if you ended up eating the entire packet of hob nobs. It happens, so pick yourself up and move on.

Think ahead

Although it may not seem like it at the moment this will pass! It will take time and things will be different on the other side, but it is good to look forward, start planning and give yourself some longer term goals. 

Finally, if you need to reach out for more support

There are many organizations ready and able to help if you do need support. If it does all feel a bit overwhelming don’t hesitate to ask for help.



April 29, 2020 Malcolm Struthers0

Happy Valley Pride present our first ever live online event – Kirsty’s Poptastic Piano Singalong – Gay Anthems Special!

Many of you will remember Kirsty Newton from the opening night of Happy Valley Pride last year. The ‘enormously talented’ (BBC), ‘musical powerhouse’ (Chortle) will blast away your lockdown blues when she leads everyone in a singalong set of your favourite gay anthems – live on Friday 8 May at 8pm.

You vote for your favourite song! We will post a list of gay anthems for you to choose from later this week. Once voting is over we will provide a lyric sheet for you to download so you can sing along with Kirsty.

The event is free, a link will be posted on our Facebook page on the day, please check back for more details.

Until then stay safe, stay at home and we’ll see you for a big LGBTQ+ knees up!


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February 19, 2020 Malcolm Struthers

UPDATE – THESE EVENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED OR POSTPONED

Happy Valley Pride announces a ‘Big Night Out’ series of community events. 

These special one-off activities will take place all year round to complement the main festival at the end of July. They will be focussed on bringing the community together for a special night of entertainment. 

The first three ‘Big Night Out’ events have been announced. 

Writing Anne Lister: An LGBTQ+ History 

Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Wednesday 18 March at 7pm. Tickets £3 here or on the door. 

Writer and academic Dr Jill Liddington, whose research into the diaries of Anne Lister inspired the BBC/HBO series Gentleman Jack, will provide an insight into the life and times this pioneer. The 19th-century businesswoman, mountaineer, world traveller, and science enthusiast is often called “the first modern lesbian”. Her edition, Female Fortune: land, gender & authority: the Anne Lister Diaries 1833-36 (1998, 2019), inspired scriptwriter Sally Wainwright to write Gentleman Jack.

And Then We Danced

in partnership with Hebden Bridge Film Festival 

Hebden Bridge Picture House on Sunday 29 February at 5.30pm. Tickets available here.

A special screening of the award-wining LGBT+ film. This passionate and beautiful coming-of-age tale about forbidden love in the Georgian ballet caused violent protests during screenings in Georgia. It will bring the 2020 Hebden Bridge Film Festival to a close.

Kirsty’s Poptastic Piano Singalong: Gay Anthems Special!

Drink, Market Street, Hebden Bridge on Friday 17 April at 8pm. Free entry

Join Kirsty for a special singalong and lots of laughs where the audience pick the songs. Kirsty is a veteran performer on the musical comedy scene, having toured with award-winning comedians Paul Merton, Rich Hall, and dozens more

Tim Whitehead, Happy Valley Pride Chair said:

“We are thrilled to announce a new series of nights out, bringing the same high-quality events that Happy Valley Pride festival has become renowned for to the rest of the year. An eclectic mix of performance, club nights, talks and film screenings, each ‘Big Night Out’ will bring the community together for a very special night of entertainment.”


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February 15, 2020 Malcolm Struthers

Monthly social events have been a key part of Happy Valley Pride since we started back in 2016. Through these get-togethers many friendships have formed and continue to flourish.

This year we will be doing things a little differently. We will be running exciting, year-round events, as well as the main festival in July and we will share these as soon as possible. 

Our friends at the brand new Out in the Valley will be hosting regular socials. We hope many of you can attend their kickoff on Thursday 20 February (8pm at the White Lion) and take part in future activities. We also encourage you to attend the Flood Fundraiser at The Trade Club on Friday 28 February. There is a lot going on, and now more than ever it is important we get together and celebrate the fantastic place we call home. 

Happy Valley Pride social

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July 26, 2019 Tim Whitehead0

During this very special week of Happy Valley Pride, we are thrilled to announce Kate O’Donnell has become our new patron.

Kate is an award winning transgender performer, activist, theatre and cabaret maker. She brought her fantastic show “Hayley and Me” to the festival last year and also worked with us when we adopted her #StandByYourTrans campaign to help spread the message of diversity and tolerance throughout Calderdale.

In 2016 Kate she founded Trans Creative, a trans arts company whose aim is to help trans people tell their stories. As Artistic Director, Kate has just completed her second, hugely successful, Trans Vegas festival, the UK’s first Trans Arts Festival.

Her work is autobiographical, entertaining and political showing pride and strength in being transgender and includes; the award-winning Big Girl’s Blouse with its successful twitter campaign #StandByYourTrans ( winning Manchester Pride’s, “Spirit of the Parade” Award, 2018) she has also created several well received cabaret performances; “A Short History of My Tits”, “No Pride” and “Hayley and Me”. With support from Arts Council England, she is currently touring her critically acclaimed one woman show “You’ve Changed” in the UK and across Europe, following its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival.

Happy Valley Pride Chair, Tim Whitehead said

“Having just worked with Kate on Trans Vegas, I know how lucky we are that she has agreed to be our second ever patron along with Peter Tatchell. As one of the most committed and visible Trans people in the country, I hope Kate’s involvement with us sends a positive message to the Trans community in our LGBTQ+ family. Kate will be joining us for the weekend events at Happy Valley Pride.”

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May 3, 2019 Nicola Jones0

Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas it will be taking place, earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.

Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year attracting over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) they have built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.  

Having already announced the crowd-pleasing return of legendary London-club night, Duckie as early as January (after last year’s hugely successful sell out in just 48 hrs!).  Further performances are now confirmed and creating one huge LGBT+ buzz about Hebden Bridge town and beyond.

Straight from being a smash success of Edinburgh Fringe 2018, Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret, will bring Jonny Woo and Richard Thomas’s ‘sequins and satire’ to Happy Valley Pride, in their uproarious, yet seriously glamorous satire about the referendum of 2016. Jonny Woo, the ‘king and queen’ of London’s alternative scene, and musical theatre’s ‘enfant terrible’ and creator of ‘Jerry Springer The Musical, Richard Thomas have created a brilliant score, full of unforgettable songs including ‘Referendum-dumb’, ‘Swivel Eyed Loon’ and ‘The Ballot Box Ballad’.

Continuing the comedic theme, Suzi Ruffell makes a stop-off from her extensive UK tour and various tv and radio appearances to join the Happy Valley party.  Regarded as one of best up and coming acts on the circuit Suzi’s innovative style captivates audiences with her engrossing tales of social ineptitude. Lauded as ‘a real stand up gem’ by The Guardian, this young independent woman celebrates her working class roots with a sideways look at the world.

Once again, Happy Valley Pride have aimed to please with this exciting mix of of the uplifting and alternative and are promising even more to come with another crammed-campful of week-long entertainment.

With new dates and a committed team of volunteer trustees, we couldn’t be more delighted at how the festival is coming together this year and will be continuing to work with the whole community, particularly local businesses and schools to create a unique atmosphere of LGBT+ understanding and acceptance across the Calder Valley”.

Tim Whitehead Chair

With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, they’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights.  With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved email [email protected]

Press enquiries via [email protected]

A selection of images and assets can be downloaded here  

Tickets will be on sale mid/end June