On the evening of Monday 13th June, Leicester stood in solidarity with Orlando following the recent murderous assault on a gay club in the city, tragically culminating in the loss of some fifty lives.
As part of a series of events held throughout the UK and around the world, approximately three hundred people gathered at Leicester Town Square, bowing their heads, lighting candles, and linking hands in remembrance of those killed.
Among those observing a poignant fifteen minute silence were the entire membership of Leicester City Council, who adjourned their deliberations for the evening in order to participate in the commemoration. Indeed, rainbow flags were symbolically flown at half mast from Leicester's Old Town Hall.
Chair of the Leicester LGBT Centre, Mark Beasley, commenting upon the attacks, stated; ''we are shocked as a community; we felt that we needed to mark it in some kind of way, to show our support for those in Orlando. Our love and heartfelt sorrow goes out to all those who have been affected.''
One attendee, Danny Lavery, described how the vigil was ''a really emotional experience; it's humbling to know that the LGBT community of Leicester and its many friends were present, willing to show their support.''
Remarkably, the vigil was organised less than twelve hours after the Orlando atrocity; Project Manager of the Leicester LGBT Centre, Dennis Bradley, reported how; ''many local LGBT community members contacted the Centre late Sunday afternoon, following the reports out of Orlando. The emotions raised propelled the Centre to organise a way of voicing our horror at yet another event where the lives of lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people appear to matter so little. Our feeling that we ought to come together to stand as a family proved very accurate. At least three hundred people - gay and straight, religious and secular, men and women, young and old - met on a windy, rainy evening to show Leicester and the world that hate does not win.''
Scenes from Leicester Vigil Credit; Pukaar News.