I thank you for your email and note your comments. Your email has been passed to me as Service Solicitor because I monitor concerns raised and we see feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve.

We usually do have a flag or banner displayed for such events but, unfortunately, it was an oversight that there was no flag or banner at our Chesterfield Station during the Festival. I confirm that we will be putting up a flag or banner at the Station for future events.

As you saw at the Chesterfield Pride event, the Service does support Pride events both in Derbyshire and around the UK. We also have several Rainbow flags and banners which we display at Station Open Days, Pride Events and on Stations in support of national and global events related to the LGBTQ equality movement.

I am pleased to say that we also have a vibrant new covering due to be applied to one of our Training School fire appliances in the next couple of weeks. This features a colourful rainbow together with a prevention and recruitment message - this will be ready for our upcoming Joint Fire and Police Open Day taking place on Saturday 4 August 2018 at our Joint Fire and Police Headquarters, Butterley Hall, Ripley. This event will be open for the public to attend. Further details can be found on our website through this LINK

Whilst the rainbow liveried vehicle will be mostly based at our Training Centre, it will be available to represent the Service at Pride events and other community engagement events. The images of the new livery are shown below. You can see that the main frontage of the fire appliance and side doors remain in our corporate red colour, retaining the identity of a traditional fire engine. The legal requirements relating to the reflective markings on emergency appliances have also been considered as part of the design.

Many thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback.

Kind regards

Louise Taylor - Solicitor & Monitoring Officer

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service

Thank you for your email to the Commissioner’s Office regarding the recent Chesterfield Pride Event.

I have made enquiries of the Force Equality Department and can confirm that the rainbow flag is normally flown at Chesterfield Police Station in order to show support for the event.  This year the particular Officers who lead on LGBT engagement were unable to attend (although other officers did attend) and we believe that this may have resulted in omitting to instigate the rainbow flag being flown.

This was an unfortunate oversight and not a deliberate omission.  I have given your feedback to the Department and they will endeavour to ensure that the flag is flown in the future.

Please be aware that both the Force and the Commissioner’s Office are fully supportive of this event and there were Officers in attendance in order to engage with attendees at the event.  The Commissioner’s Office was also represented with a stand and staff from the Office attending.

Unfortunately the Commissioner, although he had intended to attend the event, was unable to go due to personal commitments of a family nature.  However the Commissioner is hoping to attend the Derby Pride event next month.

Many thanks for taking the time to contact us, for sharing your comments and pointing out the omission with regards to the flag.

With kind regards.

Yours sincerely

Alison Clarke

On behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner

I like to get involved - I have a strong sense of place, a developed pride in my town, adopted, briefly lived in or newly resident to.  That applies now to my time in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

In a town this big with this long a heritage - at least two Roman forts - it's hard not to be animated by the story.  But it's also the unlikely stories that fascinate the most and so when the opportunity come up to be involved with Derbyshire LGBT+'s exhibition Other Stories it was too good not to seize it.

So that was Chesterfield Pride 2017 and so much to be pleased with.  Good crowd, great weather, fun, family friendly and from what I saw well supported.  The team that drive Pride led by Dan Walker are very unobtrusive and low key and deserve our thanks.  The finances are a total mystery to me as a punter, but incredibly it's a free attendance event and it's great fun.

Now I'm a bit of a hardened attendee of such things, London, Nottingham, Brighton, Manchester, Berlin, Barcelona and others - but this Pride stands up as an event and as something worth being at. 

(This article was first published on Liberal Democrat Voice www.libdemvoice.org)
If it didn’t exist would you create it? Well based on tonight, the answer for the London Gay Men’s Chorus was a resounding Yes.

As thousands of members of the LGBT community poured into Soho, supported by friends, family and a host of straight allies - everyone was very uncertain. The nervousness was palpable with no-one clear about what was going to happen next. There were a few attempts to get a political chant going, but the crowd was more contemplative. As the hour of 7pm approached there was a hanging sense of expectation in the air.

It has been said that people who vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be ‘standing on the wrong side of history’ – as those of us who know and study history accept, only time will tell.  But yesterday, as we led the Equal Marriage Vigil outside the House of Lords  I was struck that we were witnessing and perhaps even making history.

What occurred at our Vigil can be variously described as glorious, fashionable, tuneful and positive. In short we gathered together the LGBT+ communities and their families – and we sang, we danced – led by the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

(This article was first published on LD Voice http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-we-will-not-stand-aside-while-persecution-takes-place-42837.html)
Whilst party activists gathered in Glasgow and quite literally were debating policy F33 Age Ready Britain there was another gathering taking place of a quieter, but perhaps more significant nature.

In the Admiral Rodney Pub, in Southwell, Nottinghamshire a small group of LGBT activists and supporters prepared to demonstrate for equality. Archbishop John Sentamu was in Southwell for the opening of the refurbished Bishop’s Palace and he was accompanied by acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood.

(first published on 26th July 2013, written by Oliver Wright http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gay-marriage-first-how-ed-got-down-on-one-knee-to-propose-to-russell-and-made-a-little-piece-of-8734458.html)
It’s not every couple who get their forthcoming nuptials mentioned by Hansard – the official record of Parliamentary proceedings.  Or make a little piece of history in The Times – the paper famous for its births, marriages and deaths column.  Or indeed get the news relayed to over 120,000 people via the Twitter account of the Deputy Prime Minister.

But then it’s not every couple who get engaged outside the mother of Parliaments, under a statue of George V, with an Erasure song playing in the background – moments after it becomes clear that it is now their legal right to do so.

(This first appeared on Lib Dem voice - http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-standing-on-the-right-side-of-history-34778.html)
It has been said that people who vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be ‘standing on the wrong side of history’ – as those of us who know and study history accept, only time will tell.  But yesterday, as we led the Equal Marriage Vigil outside the House of Lords  I was struck that we were witnessing and perhaps even making history.

What occurred at our Vigil can be variously described as glorious, fashionable, tuneful and positive. In short we gathered together the LGBT+ communities and their families – and we sang, we danced – led by the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

(This first appeared on Lib Dem voice http://www.libdemvoice.org/equal-marriage-for-all-same-sex-couples-but-not-yet-equal-for-all-32994.html)
In 2013 we celebrate 15 years of having been ‘going out’ together.  That’s a long time to be ‘going out’ – even for the decidedly commitment-phobic.  Over the last fifteen years we have attended many weddings, christenings, funerals of friends and family that mark out the great stations of life.

Apart from the occasional birthday bash and Eurovision party- we haven’t provided a similar opportunity for our friends and family to celebrate our life together.

(This article was first published on Lib Dem Voice - http://www.libdemvoice.org/ed-fordham-writes-oooh-equal-everyone-surely-not-23092.html)
Filling out a form the other day the options were single, married, divorced, civil partnerships – so I didn’t complete that question.

No other, no long-term relationship – so it clearly didn’t apply to me… I tried explaining this to the person at the desk and they were positively un-interested. But yet again it irritated me.

David Laws has resigned and the story has more or less moved along.  For my part I know and like David a lot and his loss is a real blow to the Liberal Democrats, the Government and the country.  But most of all this was a personal story.

So I was appalled by the decision of Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill to take the airwaves and print media to launch his own mini-campaign against David.