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Taking pride in cards

Glitter and flags to the fore as GCA troupe hands out 10,000 cards on London’s annual march

 

The greeting card industry was loud and proud at the Pride In London parade – with 10,000 cards handed out in very short order and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

“The whole day was incredible, we had the best time,” GCA council member Mark Callaby told PG Buzz, having spearheaded the industry association’s first appearance at the annual Pride event in the capital on Saturday,1 July, and the fun can be viewed in the video below.

Having secured 50 official walking places, publishers, retailers and trade suppliers all signed up and were proudly sporting the special GCA Send A Card With Pride t-shirts and banners on the march.

Mark, who runs Ohh Deer with his partner Jamie Mitchell, heads up the GCA’s diversity and inclusion sub-committee, and added: “Our entire group were laughing and soaking it all in. It was a joy. And seeing people receive our cards with delighted faces made it even more special.

Above & top: All set for Pride, the GCA group get ready to march
Above & top: All set for Pride, the GCA group get ready to march

“We actually ran out of cards about a quarter of the way round – madness considering we had 10k! It was literally the best time ever. Even Jamie said to me ‘that might have been one of the best days of my life’!”

It was a day of big numbers with more than 30,000 participants from 600 organisations taking part in the parade, and well over a million people took to the streets to watch and enjoy the performances across five music stages in central London, with Rita Ora performing in Trafalgar Square alongside the event’s headliner and Queen star Adam Lambert.

Above: Mark Callaby flies the flag for the GCA with the association’s Adriana Lovesy
Above: Mark Callaby flies the flag for the GCA with the association’s Adriana Lovesy

Publisher Dean Morris, who worked on organising the event with Mark, David Rice-Nicholls from Ricicle Cards, and the GCA’s Adriana Lovesy, added: “Amazing day marching with the Greeting Card Association at Pride In London. There was so much love from the crowd. I felt very proud to be part of the greeting card industry.

“Marching with the Greeting Card Association at Pride In London was one of the best days of my 20 odd years as a greeting card publisher! The weather was perfect, the atmosphere wonderful and the love from the crowd amazing. We did our wonderful industry proud.

Above: Proud to be members of the very inclusive greetings industry
Above: Proud to be members of the very inclusive greetings industry

“Beforehand I cynically thought the crowd would be apathetic to us giving our cards out, but it was quite the opposite. I know we all love a freebie but everyone was so excited and grateful to be receiving some free pride-themed cards that we could have easily given out three times as many!”

All dressed up and ready to party, the revellers were dancing and waving rainbow flags and banners along the route from Hyde Park Corner along to Piccadilly, down past the main stage at Trafalgar Square, to Whitehall Place, a distance of just over a mile.

Above: Snapshots from the day’s fun
Above: Snapshots from the day’s fun

And the overall mood was festive although there were seven arrests of Just Stop Oil activists who briefly halted the parade on Piccadilly by sitting down in front of a float in protest that the organisers hadn’t made a statement urging an end to new gas and oil contracts or provided details of sponsorship deals, which include major US airline United.

Elsewhere, some marchers targeted the Ugandan High Commission in Trafalgar Square with a sit-down protest against the Commonwealth country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and the cast of tv series Heartstopper were seen to gesture from their float to a small group of anti-LGBTQ+ religious protesters in the crowd.

Above: King of the selfies Dean Morris captured plenty of pics
Above: King of the selfies Dean Morris captured plenty of pics

Apart from these minor incidents, it was a great day for everyone and the GCA is already planning for next year, as Mark concluded: “We handed out 10,000 free greeting cards along the route, and each one was gratefully received – I think the whole group are likely to still be buzzing, Jamie and I definitely are and we can’t wait to do it again!”

Above: The mood of the day was festive and fun
Above: The mood of the day was festive and fun
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