The future of iconic gay pride festival Pink Picnic has been thrown into question after its new organisers revealed that this year’s event has been called off.

The group behind the Huddersfield LGBT event, which was billed as the biggest in Yorkshire and would have celebrated its 28th year this summer, said that they had also disbanded the organising committee following disagreement between members of the local LGBT community.

It comes after a decision to cancel the picnic last year, due to the collapse of the previous organising committee and the arrest and subsequent clearing of former chairman Paul Johnson, in relation to allegations over missing funds donated by Kirklees Council.

New organisers had previously told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner that the event, which was last held in Greenhead Park in 2012 and cost around £10,000 to put on, would run again this year and had put out a request for volunteers to form a new committee in November 2013.

The Pink Picnic was first held in 1986 by a group of friends in Binn Wood but quickly grew in popularity and was traditionally held on the last Sunday in July.

 

In a statement to the paper, one of the organisers, Ashley John, said that the committee had taken the decision after being faced with ‘unnecessary challenges’, that included ‘unfounded’ speculation about the use of donations.

He also claimed that individuals had been privately messaging people on social networking sites with ‘false announcements’ that the event had been cancelled prior to the decision.

He said: “It brings me great displeasure to announce that the Pink Picnic 2014 has been called off.

“This decision has been made by the recently formed and disbanded Pink Picnic Organising Committee (PPOC) and is a result of many deciding factors.

This committee had one goal on its official committee constitution which was to deliver an annual event (that would)...bring people in the district of Kirklees together, like it has done for over two decades.

“Support from the LGBT community was paramount to the success of this committee’s goal to revive an annual event.

“Due to non-collaboration not only with bar runners, but the LGBT community, the PPOC cannot continue toward that its goal.

“There has been speculation, and accusations made without foundation that money that had been donated was been used by committee officials in the purchase of illegal substances.

“I can only describe these accusations in my opinion as unfounded nonsense.

“There were no money making schemes where committee officials profited ...and the people that were dedicated to the revival of the Picnic were putting in a lot of their own time for free.”

He said that money collected through collection buckets for the event would be donated to Huddersfield groups Sisters Shout and HuGG.

He offered an apology and said that he was exhausted with the ‘pure pettiness’ the event had encountered.

Commenting on the announcement on Facebook, past attendee Dabion Donaldson said: “I’m so disappointed that the pink picnic isn’t on again this year. because I thought it was such a great event.”

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