Thousands Attend Manchester HIV Vigil 

By Jeremy Kinser

Originally published on Advocate.com August 30 2010 5:55 PM ET

The 20th annual Manchester Pride weekend ended with a bang — literally — as an estimated 2,000 people filed into the city's Sackville Gardens to hold an HIV candlelight vigil and witness a spectacular fireworks display.

Following a performance by the Pride Quartet, Manchester's "25 Voices," a group of LGBT residents, read inspiring messages written by Mancunians living with HIV as the crowd lit their candles, turning the park into a sea of flickering lights. British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy read a poem she wrote specially for the event before the crowd observed a moment of silence in remembrance of those who've died from AIDS-related illnesses.

U.K. soul singer Beverley Knight closed the vigil with a performance of her anthem "Beautiful Night" before the event ended with an extended fireworks finale. In 2009, Manchester Pride raised over £135,000 for LGBT charities.