A CHESTER choir is the pride of Manchester after winning top prize in the city’s Big Weekend August bank holiday celebration.

A Handbag of Harmonies women’s choir won best entry in the Manchester Pride 2011 parade, which celebrates the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The choir, led by musical director Matt Baker, sang songs from their wide repertoire as they paraded round the city’s streets carrying bright pink umbrellas to match their pink feather boas and their trademark handbags.

Matt said: “The theme of the parade was The Best of British and we decided that there was nothing better than an umbrella to sum up what being British is about, although ours of course are bright pink!”

The parade, with 99 entries, wended its way along Deansgate and through the city centre before culminating in the Gay Village.

Matt and singers Keddy Sutton and Michaela Quinn picked up the choir’s trophy and certificate at a special celebration on Sunday, August 29.

- See Thursday’s Chester Chronicle for full report and pictures