Virgin Trains East Coast Lights Up Newcastle Central Station for Northern Pride LGBT Festival

The first 125 wrapped in Virgin Trains East Coast livery, pictured at Waverley Station on Saturday, June 20. Credit: Chris Watt
The first 125 wrapped in Virgin Trains East Coast livery, pictured at Waverley Station on Saturday, June 20. Credit: Chris Watt

Virgin Trains East Coast is proud to light up Newcastle Central Station to celebrate this year’s Northern Pride LGBT festival in Newcastle.

From tonight (Wednesday 15 July) through to Sunday morning the exterior of the station’s portico will be illuminated in six vibrant rainbow colours. The lights will be officially turned on this evening by Mr Gay UK – Stuart Hatton, from South Shields.

Virgin is using the lights and specially designed drapes, glitter balls and flags to create an extra special welcome to tens of thousands of visitors to the city this week. It is working with partners across Tyneside to add extra colour to the recently refurbished portico of the Grade One listed station, which was first opened by Queen Victoria in 1850.

More than 65,000 people are expected to visit Northern Pride this week. It is estimated that the festival will boost the regional economy by £8m.

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License: Creative Commons Attribution LIGHTING UP WITH NORTHERN PRIDE … from left, Mark Nichols, Chair of Northern Pride; Cllr. Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council; Stuart Hatton, Mr Gay UK, and Louise Rutherford, Virgin Trains East Coast Station Manager Newcastle
ILLUMINATING EXPERIENCE ...the historic Newcastle Central Station portico lights up in six vibrant rainbow colours to celebrate this year's Northern Pride LGBT festival in the city
ILLUMINATING EXPERIENCE …the historic Newcastle Central Station portico lights up in six vibrant rainbow colours to celebrate this year’s Northern Pride LGBT festival in the city

David Horne, Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director, said: “Newcastle Central Station is an iconic landmark in the city and we are proud to light up this historic building in such a bright and modern way. We are looking forward to welcoming the thousands of extra visitors that this event attracts, and hope that people will enjoy the extra sparkle we have added.”

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The newly refurbished Newcastle Central Station and its glass atrium give visitors a great entrance to the city. So what better place to illuminate with the rainbow colours? This is a great gesture by Virgin Trains East Coast which will add to the growing success of the Northern Pride weekend.”

Northern Pride is a popular festival, with three days of live music and entertainment for all ages, with headline performances by girl band B*Witched and 80’s star Belinda Carlisle.

Mark Nichols, Chair of Northern Pride, said: “This is a very special year for Northern Pride, marking 45 years of Pride marches around the world. We are absolutely delighted that Virgin Trains East Coast is supporting the occasion, and I’m sure that the rainbow effects will serve as a fantastic welcome for those visiting Newcastle throughout the weekend.”

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive at destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “NewcastleGateshead is, by its very nature, a welcoming destination; we are renowned for the warmth of the people and the vibrant personality of the place. We’re delighted that our colleagues at Virgin Trains East Coast are embracing this and providing a very distinctive and colourful welcome for visitors travelling here for Newcastle Pride this weekend.

“Newcastle Pride is a fantastic, inclusive event which continues to grow in popularity, attracting more than 65,000 visitors last year and is now one of the UKs largest, free LGBT festivals. Events such as this really bring the city to life and provide a great atmosphere that local people and visitors alike can embrace and enjoy.”

Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of Business Improvement District company NE1 Ltd, the main stage sponsor of Newcastle’s Pride, commented: “It is great to see Virgin Trains East Coast lighting up Central Station to provide such a visual welcome to the thousands of LGBT travellers and others who will pass through the station on their way to enjoy the Pride celebrations in Newcastle. Each year the event gets bigger and better and we’re delighted to join with the Virgin Train East Coast team and all supporters of the festival to help deliver a spectacular celebration.”

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