EXETER will host the largest rainbow flag parade the city has seen as part of the biggest, free celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in the region.

Preparations are well in hand for the sixth Exeter Pride, which will take place on Saturday, May 10.

It promises to be the biggest, most colourful event to date with more than 2,000 people expected to take part in the parade down Exeter's HIgh Street and attend a full programme of activities held at Exeter Phoenix in Gandy Street.

Community groups, firefighters, police, students, trade union groups and individuals will be among those taking part in the parade.

The parade will include many people wearing colourful masks, made at recent workshops run by Exeter Pride.

It will also include Street Heat samba band, a decorated double decker bus and volunteers carrying a 50-metre rainbow flag.

All are invited to walk in the parade in support of Exeter's LGBT communities.

Groups or organisations are asked to register by email: parade@exeterpride.co.uk .

Roads will be closed along the route of the parade which, this year, will be longer to accommodate the large numbers who take part.

It will start at 12 noon at Exeter City Football Ground's Fountain Centre car park.

Events and activities at Exeter Phoenix will be family-friendly and include activities for children, young people and adults.

A full programme of events which will continue on into the evening will include a family zone, a Victorian Fair, a Market Place, a new Health Zone and the return of the popular drumming workshop, ceilidh and panel debates.

There will be information from local and national organisations, demonstrations, as well as fun activities.

Evening events include live music and DJs through until 2am.

Admission to some evening activities will be by wristband only, which are £3 from selected outlets.

Tom Grigor, chairman of Exeter Pride committee, said: "Exeter Pride is a celebration of the the city and county's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

"It is about us having pride in our contributions to not just a vibrant and diverse city, but all of Devon and the city and county having pride in us."

He added: "Exeter Pride would not be possible with generous donations from local businesses, organisations and individuals and the fundraising efforts of many volunteers.

"Together with generous sponsorship from our partners, we are able to keep all our daytime events, free-of-charge."

Tom added: "Volunteers are an important part of helping to make things run smoothly and more volunteers are still needed to help steward the parade as well as helping to set up at Exeter Phoenix.

"Anyone who could spare some time to help can make contact through the Exeter Pride website."

Devon and Cornwall Police chief constable, Shaun Sawyer, said: Devon and Cornwall Police are proud to support Exeter Pride as part of our commitment to service the LGB and T communities across Devon and Cornwall.

"We would also like to congratulate Exeter Pride on establishing this as a successful annual event."

In addition to organising the Pride event, the committee organise a wide range of events and entertainment throughout the year to promote inclusivity, self-confidence and a sense of community in a supportive environment.

Further information about Exeter Pride on May 10 and other pride committee-organised events, to sign up as a volunteer or to find out about sponsorship, visit the website: www.exeterpride.co.uk or Twitter: @exeterpride or Facebook: facebook.com/exeterpride .