BAE Systems is truly a colourful and diverse place to work and I’m just so pleased that I took the time to walk with my colleagues as an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Chris Kelly, Commercial Director, BAE Systems Air
My first thought that morning concerned my clothes - what should I wear? After some deliberation and consultation with my wife and daughter, we agreed that dressing as I would usually at the weekend was right for me, and I set off sporting an emerald green t-shirt with a pair of jeans.
 
On arrival at the meeting point - a café in Blackpool, I had a very warm welcome and was offered the same BAE Systems OutlinkUK T-shirt that everyone else in the group was wearing. So this solved my clothing dilemma! I needn’t have worried about what to wear after all.
 
After a quick coffee and a chat, we grabbed flags and badges to give away during the procession and headed down to the start point at the Pleasure Island via the Blackpool Tram.
 
As all the marchers gathered, the atmosphere was just joyful. There were groups from such a wide range of organisations, clubs and shows and many had travelled from far afield to join in. From extravagant drag queens to BAE Systems’ Typhoon rugby team, everyone taking part really wanted to embrace diversity and the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.
 
Finally the procession began, led by some 20+ TVR sports cars that were originally built in Blackpool. As our group walked the route, I felt hugely uplifted to hear the cheering and see such happy faces. All our flags and badges were in high demand!
 
As we gathered for a well-earned coffee back at the café I reflected on the morning’s event with pride. It was a brilliant atmosphere and hugely welcoming.
 
I would encourage anyone who hasn’t experienced any of the PRIDE marches up and down the country to go along and participate. You should be prepared to have a lot of fun!
 
BAE Systems is truly a colourful and diverse place to work and I’m just so pleased that I took the time to walk with my colleagues as an ally for the LGBTQ+ community.
 

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Chris Kelly

Commercial Director, BAE Systems Air
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