Mr Gay Europe contestants enjoy a magical tour of South Shields ahead of the final

The competition celebrates the pride, diversity and rights of Europe’s LGBT+ community, with countries represented including Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Ukraine .

As part of the build-up to the final which will take place at Alnwick Gardens this Saturday 20 August, international delegates enjoyed a visit to South Shields – the hometown of competition CEO Stuart Hatton.

While in town, they visited the Little Haven Hotel for refreshments and enjoyed sweeping views of the waterfront from the Ferris wheel at Ocean Beach Pleasure Park.

Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr Pat Hay greets the Mr Gay Europe finalists at South Shields Town Hall.

Custom House Executive Director Ray Spencer gave them his insight into the area on a coastal open-top bus tour, and they were treated to a special civic reception at South Shields Town Hall with Mayor and Mayoress, Councilor Pat Hay and Jean Copp.

Entertainment was provided by singer Chris Perry and STAMP.

The Mayor said: ‘We were delighted and honored to welcome the Mr Gay Europe candidates for Mayor of South Shields and to fly their nations’ flags to show our support for the LGBT+ community as we approach of the final.

Mr Gay’s contestants at The Canny Chocolate Company.

“It’s great that the North East is hosting the competition, not only giving us a wonderful opportunity to showcase our great region – including our beautiful coastal region – to an international audience, but making a powerful statement that promotes a culture of acceptance, encouragement and inclusiveness.

“Events like these remind us that people should be free to love whoever they want and feel they can express themselves without fear of reprisal. This is a real show and a celebration of pride. We wish good luck to all the candidates for the final.

The Mr Gay England Final returns to Alnwick Garden for the second consecutive year alongside the MX Drag Final. However, this will be the first time that Mr Gay Europe has been crowned in the magnificent gardens.

Contestants will show their best fashion, balance and grace on the podium, undertake a written test and a range of other challenges, as well as help raise funds for the South Tyneside-based charity, the Charlie Foundation and Carter Cookson.

Mr Gay’s contestants at The Canny Chocolate Company.

Former Mr Gay World and CEO of Mr Gay England, Stuart Hatton Jr – from South Shields – said: “I am delighted to be bringing Mr Gay England back to the North East region and bringing Mr Gay Europe to the UK. Kingdom for the first time, at Alnwick Garden.

“I was particularly delighted to welcome the candidates to my hometown where it all started for me. As a former winner and now Managing Director of Mr Gay Europe, when the proposal was presented to run the competition to find an LGBTIQ+ spokesperson for Europe in the UK, my first thought was: “This don’t go to London, I’m taking this home”. to North-east “. And I have!”

He added: “Mr Gay Europe is the toughest job interview in the world. Delegates have to take a written exam, sports challenge, daily social media challenges, team challenge, oral presentation of the project they have chosen that they must defend if they win and a formal interview in front of a panel of experts.

“This week the North East is ready to uplift and celebrate all things queer and I look forward to the grand finale at Alnwick Garden on August 20.”

The mayor added: “Stuart is a fantastic advocate and positive role model for the LGBT+ community. He has done an amazing job advocating for gay rights in South Tyneside and beyond. It was a real privilege to welcome his Mr Gay Europe delegation to our beautiful town hall.

For more information on the Gay Day event at Alnwick Garden, visit www.alnwickgarden.com

Mary I. Bruner