Chippenham hosts first-ever Pride event | UK News

baseley declan

Declan Baseley, 27, is proud to call himself Chippenham’s first and youngest gay mayor (Picture: Declan Baseley)

Declan Baseley is not the typical mayor one would expect in a rural Wiltshire town with a population of 45,000.

He is 27, openly gay, and Chippenham’s youngest mayor.

But that never stopped his passion for the environment as a Green Party councilor, which he says is rooted in his small town’s tight-knit community.

As part of Pride Month, sat down with the new mayor to discuss his sexuality, the rural community he grew up in and Chippnenham’s first-ever Pride event taking place on Saturday.

“I’m lucky to have had a positive coming out experience without any negativity, but I realize that’s not the case for all gay people,” he said.

“I think I first realized I was gay when I was 16, but it wasn’t until I was 17 that I first came out to my best friend. .

“Shortly after that I went out with my family who I thought would accept me and did so with open arms.

Pride Month 2023

Pride Month is here, with members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies celebrating their identities, accomplishments, and reflecting on the fight for equality throughout the month of June.

This year, explores the theme of family and what it means for the LGBTQ+ community.

Find our daily highlights below, and for our latest the LGBTQ+ coverage, go to our dedicated Pride page.

“I have not been abused or persecuted for my sexuality and I want everyone to end up living in a society where everyone is treated the same, regardless of their sexuality.”

PRIDE: Chippenham in Wiltshire elects the town's youngest and first gay mayor

In his spare time, Delan is an avid beekeeper (Picture: Declan Baseley)

Declan, who was born in Chippenham and has lived in the town all his life, says he has a “deeply rooted” connection to the town of which he is “tremendously proud”.

Wanting to give back to the local community, he said it resonated well with townspeople and council members.

While the role of mayor is apolitical, the young man underlined his wish that young people and LGBTQ+ enter local politics and focus on what excites them.

Declan said: “For me, sexuality is important and age is not a barrier for anyone considering entering politics.

baseley declan

He has already had the chance to participate in many events since becoming mayor (Photo: Declan Baseley)

“For me, it is important to represent a rural community without prejudice.

“While suffragettes and civil rights activists have paved the way for other groups to hold public office, I hope people like me, even at the local level, will encourage LGBTQ+ youth to enter politics.

“When you see a performance, it encourages others who may have doubts about their abilities.”

Declan explained what pride meant to him in the past and how it shaped his current understanding of LGBTQ+ rights.

“For me, Pride has been about protest in the past and now is a demonstration of how far we’ve come,” he said.

“We live in a safer and less judgmental society where pride is now a celebration of identity and sexuality.

baseley declan

Declan hopes his nomination will encourage other young LGBTQ+ people to enter politics (Photo: Declan Baseley)

“But pride throughout history has taught us that achieving equality for gay people has not been a smooth process.

“I am proud of Pride and honored to see our city’s first-ever Pride event take place on June 17.

Although he has only been mayor since May 17, Declan’s schedule has been hectic.

He’s already had the good fortune of taking part in some investitures, the town’s folk festival, and raising money for a charity called Doorway that helps local homeless people.

His biggest hurdle has been time management and said there’s “always something” to do at weekends across Chippenham.

The city’s Pride event begins at 1 p.m. and features local musicians, comedians, and a speaker stage.

Organized entirely by volunteers, Declan expressed his own pride in seeing the event hosted in the city close to his heart.

“I will be extremely proud to see the Pride Flag hoisted over City Hall for the very first time,” he said.

“My thanks go out to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to keep this going.

“I feel immense pride to see this event happen in my hometown.”

Contact our press team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check out our news page.

Leave a Comment