May McFettridge, Ulster’s Queen of Comedy, will lead Northern Ireland’s first ever Learning Disability Pride Parade and Carnival in Carrickfergus on Saturday (May 27).
More than 1,000 people with a learning disability from across Northern Ireland are planning to join the parade through the town to the Carnival and Fun Day at Carrickfergus Castle Car Park, hosted by DJ Pete Snodden.
Actor and comedian John Linehan, who plays Superstar May McFetteridge said: “It’s an honour to lead the very first Learning Disability Pride Parade and to support and make people aware of what a learning disability is all about. And to tell all the people attending to have pride in yourself no matter what you do.”
Learning Disability Pride is organised by the Carrickfergus Senior Gateway Club and is the idea of the club leader, Thomas Haighton, who said: “There are 33,000 people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland and we wanted to organise an event to bring them together and to show pride in who they are. We want to raise awareness that learning disability does not have to stop someone achieving their full potential.”
The event starts with a parade at 12pm from Carrickfergus Health Centre to Carrickfergus Castle Car Park, where the Carnival and Fun Day is hosted by DJ Pete Snodden. The Pride event will have live music from band ‘This Way Up’, the Jordan Academy of Irish Dancers, the Studio 68 Cheerleaders, drama by Carrickfergus Senior Gateway and Larne Adult Centre, finally local Carrick DJ Joe Hoey, who has a learning disability will be hitting the DJ decks. The Carnival and Fun Day will have facepainting, kite making, a petting farm, bouncy castle, market and food stalls, arts and crafts and information and resources to support and help people with a learning disability and their families.
Elizabeth Crozier, a member of the Carrickfergus Senior Gateway Club said: “We are really looking forward to Learning Disability Pride, it will be a great day out for people with a learning disability and their friends and family. Everyone is welcome, so just come along and you will have a great time. I can’t wait.”
Learning Disability Pride is funded and supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and learning disability charity Mencap.
Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap Northern Ireland said: “Learning Disability Pride is a great idea and Mencap are very proud to be part of this event. People with a learning disability in Northern Ireland need to be listened to, valued equally and fully included in society. Raising awareness and changing attitudes with events like learning disability pride is a fun way to do it. “
For more information and to take part visit www.learningdisabilitypride.org or www.facebook.com/learningdisabilitypride