Our History

Sparkle are incredibly proud of their rich history; The organisation has developed its Sparkle Weekend from a Grassroots Community Event, to the more sophisticated volunteer lead event we have today. The charity has developed into National Charity and is continuing its journey as a Trans and ally led organisation and has developed every year since its inception.


The National Transgender Charity organises the Sparkle Weekend celebration in July of each year.

We also hold a series of events throughout the year to actively promote fundraising and Trans awareness.



Sparkle was officially founded in 2005, originally as a day to celebrate

all things transgender. By the following year, the event has moved

to its current weekend format and we now provide a full schedule

from Friday afternoon right through to Sunday night!


In 2006 we introduce the main stage in Sackville Gardens, many performers

join us this year providing a hive of activity in the park with an outpouring

of transgender and gender non conforming people coming

together in Manchesters Gay Village.


In 2007 the ‘Party in the Park’ kicked off in June and with over

1,000 visitors it was the most widely attended event in the country for those

who identify as Transgender or TG, CD and TV.

It was officially the largest and the most highest profile TG event in the world.


2008 starts with Bella Jay of Repartee Magazine moves into the

role of Sparkle Event Director; until this point had been

helping with Media and Publicity. Giving Sparkle its first ever Organisers Network,

providing support for the Sparkle Weekend.


In 2009 another successful year with Sparkle again visitor numbers rose

and sponsors came forward to support the event.

Sparkle is now a firm favourite in the Pride Calendar. Marking its 5th Birthday with the event moving to the 2nd weekend in July. 


2010 comes round as Sparkle applies for registered charity status.

The organisation is granted the status just ahead of the 2011 event.

The initial Sparkle Trustees are Bella Jay as Chair of Trustees along

with Leah True, Sophie Summers and Beckie Fox. 


Sparkle is made possible in 2011 by the hard work of dedicated individuals who gave their time for free as part of the Sparkle Organising Committee in order to deliver the various elements of the weekend. This is the first year we reach out to our wonderful sponsors who provided a large part of the finances required to bring you Sparkle.


2012 saw a vast rise in volunteers with over 40 helpers, turning up over the weekend to put on the biggest Sparkle event so far. Sparkle started fundraising across the year

in order to bring the weekend to life, there were more email enquiries than

ever from Friends, Family and Allies wanting to support Sparkle.


What a scorcher; Sparkle 2013 is another outstanding success with the best weather we

have ever had in the event's history! Sparkle in the Park also includes a new Youth Zone

and the event attracted even more visitors and for the first time really focusing on

representing all parts of the broader Transgender community.


Sparkle celebrates its 10th anniversary and to mark this amazing achievement Sparkle

in the Park takes place on the Saturday and Sunday with 2 jam packed days of Music,

Entertainment, Food and Friendship with community leaders making guest appearances.

Bella Jay retires as Event Director after the 2014 anniversary celebrations

and 10 years of service.


A new board of trustees is established with Beckie Fox (Chair), Jenny-Anne Bishop, Jane Owen,

Debbie Roberts, Karen Richards, Tony Cooper and Mary Lunan. More changes came to the board of Trustees in November 2015.​ Sparkle started to host the Transgender Day of Remembrance Event in

Manchester at the National Trans Memorial in Sackville Gardens

it is the Largest TDOR Service in the UK to date.


Sparkle 2016 was another success with over 10,000 visitors to the Sparkle Weekend 

At the AGM current trustees Debbie Roberts, Karen Richards and Tony Cooper

leave the board; a new Chair of the Trustees is elected; Jane Owen along with Jay Crawford

as Vice-Chair and fellow Trustees Mary Lunan, Claire Grant and Joanne Mason. 


Trustee Recruitment was completed in January 2017 with Lee Clatworthy, Paulette Richards, Erin Smith and Jo Lockwood joining the team as Trustees and a new role to develop community champions alongside trustees was launched; New 'Key Volunteers' were also appointed.
The Sparkle Weekend was a huge success with the launch of The Sparkle Music Awards stealing the show over the weekend. A new and improved Family Zone ensured we included our future generations in the heart of our celebrations.


Sparkle Weekend 2018 was bigger than ever with a whopping 18,000 visitors over

the two day event. The Mainstage area was packed all weekend and offered a vast array

of Trans and on-binary talent from across the UK.  Following the 2018 AGM; One of our

former Trustees Jay Crawford returns to the board as Chair of Trustees, alongside

Lee Clatworthy, Tony Mack, Claire Cox, Majojo Kuss, Stephen Stockton.



As 2019 draws to a close we reflect on the most successful Sparkle Weekend yet. Over 26,000 visitors from as far as Australia, Brazil and North America. Over 8,300 volunteer hours went into producing the Sparkle Weekend this year.



The Sparkle Weekend was cancelled for the first time in 15 years due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

Roll on 2021 for the return of Sparkle Weekend.

A Blast from the Past

Sparkle have found some photos from the Archives and thought we should share those with you all! If you have any

other historical photos, flyers or leaflets from our previous events we would love to hear from you! 

Head over to our 'Gallery' to see more photos from Previous Sparkle Weekend events,

Transgender Day of Remembrance and other Community Events.