A high school in Kingston won plaudits from LGBT activists after sending a student-led delegation to London Pride parade on Saturday (July 6).

Students and staff from Southborough High School in Kingston attended the massive London Pride event, on the back of efforts lead by science teacher and Equalities Club founder Catherine Taylor, a descendent of the 19th century abolitionist William Wilberforce.

"I joined the school a few years ago and set up an equalities club with the kids...one of the things they wanted to do was go to pride...my previous school had done it through their equalities group so I knew it was possible.

"You apply in a small window of time and we applied and got it...it was one of a number of things we're focusing on in the group and turned out to be the icing on the cake, like a reward for us doing these initiatives throughout the year," Ms Taylor said.

She referenced some of the other campaigns the Equalities Club at Southborough High School are involved with, including a 'no-bystander' campaign to tackle homophobic bullying at school.

Ms Taylor suggested that the group's active approach to equality helped their application to join the parade.

On the day itself, Southborough appeared to be one of only three schools in attendance, and the only comprehensive to take part — in the Youth section of the parade where they were allocated, the students and staff walked with their fellows from the Brit School and the Global Academy who also sent delegations.

"Pride was just amazing and full of love!" Ms Taylor said about her experience of the event.

"It was relaxed and so well organised...once we'd arrived in our section with our banner we walked with thousands and thousands of people cheering us on," she added.

Indeed, the Kingstonian contingent went down particularly well with attendees at the parade.

Zach, one of the Southbourgh students, was asked over a loudspeaker why the school was attending, and his response — "we believe in equality for all" got one of the biggest cheers of the day, as fellow student Ben (Year 7) remembered.

"We were asked to speak into one of the checkpoints and we got the loudest cheer out of all the other marchers (we think!!)...I enjoyed all of the march and supporting equality we held our banner high so all 1.5 million (people) could see," Ben said, referencing an estimate for the total number of people who attended this year's London event.

In possibly the most memorable moment of the day for the school's delegation, the students and teachers also met LGBT activist and legendary actor Sir Ian McKellen (pictured).

Southborough's attendance chimed with the school's own emphasis on promoting equality, with Ms Taylor praising Southborough's Headteacher Niall Smith for his support.

The Kingston school's PTA Chair Anna Lofts told the Comet:

"Last year we flew a rainbow flag at the school and we're quite big on equality at school — it's an inclusive comprehensive and we have a wide range of kids from a wide range of backgrounds.

"It's a really important thing for us to represent the school like this."