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Appalled mum organises solidarity march for LGBTQ+ community after homophobic attack on couple

A mum of two young children has organised a solidarity march for the LGBTQ+ community after she was shocked by a brutal gang attack on a gay couple in Bishop's Stortford.

Anna Drury told the Indie she wanted to stage the march to offer support for the LGBTQ+ community after the vicious assault on the two men in Waitrose car parkin the early hours of Sunday August 8.

One man suffered fractures to his cheek, eye socket and nose while the other suffered cuts and bruising to his face after a gang of about 10 youths launched a homophobic attack.

"I decided to organise the march as I wanted to say 'We are appalled, we stand with you and we support you'," said Anna, who has lived in Stortford for a year after moving from south-east London.

She said that she was shocked by the incident. A mother of two boys, aged three and one, she said she was unaware of how safe Stortford was at night, but was surprised that it had happened here.

"If you were a member of the LGBT community I think it would be quite scary," she added.

The march has been set for this Saturday (August 28) and Anna says "by a happy coincidence" it is on the same day as the Stort Valley Pride event being held at South Mill Arts centre by Bishop's Wellbeing.

It starts at 10am from the bandstand on Sworder's Field and will end at the arts centre in South Road.

"Come with flags and banners," said Anna. "It's a positive, happy event."

Bishop's Wellbeing youth and community lead Annabelle Caley, who is organising the Stort Valley Pride event, said the backlash from the attack had been amazing.

Hannah Hogan and Annabelle Caley, from Bishop's Wellbeing, dressed the Indie window in North Street to advertise Stort Valley Pride (50501692)
Hannah Hogan and Annabelle Caley, from Bishop's Wellbeing, dressed the Indie window in North Street to advertise Stort Valley Pride (50501692)

"I was absolutely distraught. We were already doing Stort Valley Pride in response to a lack of support and recognition for the LGBTQ+ community in the area, but the response has been brilliant and has renewed my faith in the community," she said.

Annabelle, who says she is still trying to work out her sexuality, said that when she heard about the attack she pondered whether to cancel the Pride event.

"I was concerned when the attack first happened that people would be too scared to come. But what I found was people were more empowered to come."

Police say they have received a good response to appeals after the attack and, following extensive enquiries, two men were arrested on August 18 on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH).

A 19-year-old from Bishop’s Stortford and an 18-year-old from Harlow were released on police bail until September 18, pending further investigation.

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