A small Hampshire village has raised £750 to benefit coronavirus relief funds and LGBTQ+ causes.

Two community arranged LGBTQ+-related derbies, the Pride Derby and the Thruxton Derby, have raised £750 to benefit coronavirus relief funds and the Emerald 50Fund. The Emerald 50Fund is an initiative which supports grassroots LGBTQ+ and women’s activism groups in South Africa.

The event was organised by local activist Richard Smart, who “jumped at the chance” to help, when a local bisexual girl informed him that it was Pride Month. The small village of Thruxton, in Hampshire, subsequently hosted a small Pride this week alongside the derby.

The coronavirus pandemic has cancelled major Pride events, so the locals of the village decorated their houses with Pride flags, as well as hosting an Online Pride Music Quiz and a Pride Fancy Dress competition.

However, the crown of the celebrations were the derbies, with the horses in the Pride Derby all having LGBTQ+-related names, such as Stonewaller, Higgins Horse, Nowt as Queer as Folk and Elimination of Discrimination, the latter of which won.

The event, which was hosted over on Facebook, raised £750, with £300 being donated to EmeraldLife. Steve Wardlaw, the co-founder and chairman of Emerald Life matched the donation, meaning that £600 was raised for LGBTQ+ and women’s causes in South Africa.

Speaking about the event, organiser Richard Smart said: “I recognise the importance of helping the youngsters in the community regardless of their sexuality and to reassure the community that we are inclusive and respect everyone. And so, we have hosted Thruxton Pride week this week.

“As well as celebrating Pride I felt it would also be fitting to donate to an LGBTQ+ charity or project. I contacted my friend Steve Wardlaw, who is Chairman of the Inclusive Insurance provider Emerald Life, who suggested that we could donate to the 50Fund whose purpose is to give direct support to grassroots women’s and LGBT+ organisations that otherwise might struggle to attract international donations.”

He added: “It has been a fun week in Thruxton which has also allowed us to send out a strong message of support for all our LGBTQ residents.”

Steve Wardlaw said: “I think this is an amazing effort by Rick and the villagers of Thruxton. Rick live streamed his LGBT+ Pride music quiz for the village and everyone made the efforts to be dressed in rainbows, as unicorns etc.

“For a village where this isn’t necessarily a top priority it was moving to see everyone get into the spirit even if they aren’t directly impacted.”

Steve added that the money raised could help a young LGBTQ+ person in South Africa attend “an advocacy week in Praetoria to learn about their rights, strategies to promote change etc.”