FORTY-NINE balloons will be released – one for each victim of the Orlando shootings – at the start of York Pride tomorrow.

The first UK Pride event since the mass shooting at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightclub will begin with a public prayer outside York Minster by Canon Pastor Michael Smith and a minute's silence.

A brass band will then play 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' in tribute before the balloons are released.

Speakers at the 11.30am start of the parade outside the Minster include the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Dave Taylor, and Rod Sims, the deputy head of York High School.

Actor Christopher Biggins, who is hosting the event, has said it will be a 'very emotional' occasion following the Orlando shootings.

But the former winner of TV’s I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here told The Press it would also be a demonstration of the strength and resilience of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

York Pride chair Greg Stephenson said: “We want to respectfully remember those killed and hurt at Orlando, their friends and families, and all those LGBT people around the world who are made to suffer because of their sexuality and gender identity."

The parade will begin with the unfurling of a 50 metre rainbow flag, which will be carried by participants through the centre, led by an open top bus and brass band and a samba band, and followed by crowds of LGBT people and their supporters.

The parade is due to reach Knavesmire at about 1pm for an afternoon of music, headlined by Lloyd Daniels, Jake Quickenden and Seann Miley Moore, with about 5,000 people expected to attend the festival.

Mr Stephenson said: “In a colourful display, we ask York and North Yorkshire to raise a rainbow in support of LGBT people and help us ensure that people in our area are never held back or suffer because of sexuality or gender identity."

Rainbow flags are flying across York and the surrounding area in support of York Pride and its #raiseyourrainbow campaign, including rainbow bunting and flags throughout York Station.