On Saturday 25th May 2019, Stody Lodge Gardens near Holt in North Norfolk will once again extend a special welcome and invitation to the LGBT+ community, as well as family and friends, to celebrate diversity in all its forms within 14-acres of colourful rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias.

This is the second year running that Stody Lodge Gardens has held an event in support of the rural LGBT+ community. This year it is organised by the owners of Stody Lodge Gardens in close conjunction with Norwich Pride and Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Pride. The Stody Rainbow Garden Party will build on the fantastic response to the inaugural event, The Stody Big Gay Out, which took place on 26th May 2018, but with even more fun, activities and surprises.

Richard Hulbert, Head Gardener at Stody Lodge Gardens, said: “As a gay man I am extremely proud to be sharing the extraordinary gardens at Stody Lodge in Norfolk with the wider LGBT+ community. Through the Stody Rainbow Garden party we want to challenge the stereotype of the LGBT+ community in a rural environment and positively promote diversity and inclusiveness. It is my hope that this event will encourage tolerance and other similar events across the UK. I was amazed at how successful The Stody big Gay Out was and surprised at how supportive our local community were. I am really pleased to have this second opportunity to invite the LGBT+ community back to Stody Lodge Gardens.”

Kate MacNicol, owner of Stody Lodge Gardens, said: “Our rainbow-coloured gardens provide the perfect backdrop to a true celebration of the LGBT+ community. We were blown away by the feedback on last year’s event and couldn’t wait to start planning for next year. With a new name and additional partners on board there will be a huge amount of fun activities and surprises for you all to enjoy.”

Julie Bremner, a Trustee of Norwich Pride, said: “The team at Stody have been incredibly supportive and generous towards our community and we are very excited about plans for The Stody Rainbow Garden Party in May 2019. It is important that all of us show our support for those living in a rural environment and I can’t wait to once again bring some of the joy of Pride to the countryside.”

Jo Rust of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Pride, said: “We heard about the brilliant event that took place at Stody Lodge Gardens last year and were delighted to be invited to join the team. We know how challenging it can be for someone identifying as LGBT+ who lives in the countryside. This is a fantastic initiative that has our full support.”

Joanna Jane B. a member of the transgender support group OASIS Norfolk, said: “Last year’s event was such a beautiful day in all respects, so many superlatives. The gardens were magnificent – the colour and scents from the azaleas and the colour of the rhododendrons was so spectacular, just superb. A credit to everyone for their hard work and dedication, not least the wonderful performance by the Sing with Pride choir. My companions for the day, Beccie, Petra and I felt so welcome, happy smiling faces everywhere and good conversation at the refreshment area. We left with an overwhelming sense of happiness and wellbeing. A lot of Oasis ladies are looking forward to returning again next year.”

Norwich Pride and Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Pride will serve delicious rainbow cakes and homemade teas to the garden’s hungry visitors. All proceeds from the tea rooms will go to help fund Norwich’s 11th Anniversary Pride on 27th July 2019 and the second Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Pride on Saturday 17th August 2019.

All members of the public are welcome to attend The Stody Rainbow Garden Party on Saturday 25th May 2019. As well as being able to wander through Stody’s magical 14-acre gardens, including it’s 4-acre technicolour azalea water gardens (the largest of its kind in the UK), visitors can enjoy a fantastic range of activities and entertainment. There will be live music, talks, facepainting, fantastical animals, games on the lawn and much, much more. Further details to be announced in the spring. The event is very family friendly with all ages welcome.

Entrance is £7, children under 12 free. There is good disabled access to most areas of the garden. Accessible toilet and parking available. Dogs on leads welcome.