BUSINESSES and organisations supporting Ilkley Pride have been targeted by hate mail.

The action has been condemned by Ilkley's MP Robbie Moore who encouraged anyone who had received the "hateful" correspondence to report it to the police.

Mr Moore said: "Ilkley Pride and the fantastic local businesses supporting pride month across Ilkley are a testament to the values of acceptance and inclusivity we all strive for. To see these efforts met with hate and hostility by a small but vocal minority only serves to remind us of why pride month is so important, and I urge anyone who has received hateful correspondence to report this to the police.

"To the LGBTQ+ community in Ilkley and across the entire constituency, I want you to know that the vast majority of local residents stand firmly with you in love and respect. History shows that every time the LGBTQ+ community has been met with hate or hardship, it has emerged stronger and more resilient than ever, and I have no doubt that the same will happen in Ilkley thanks to our fantastic local organisations. As Keighley and Ilkley’s MP, I will always stand up for our community to ensure that everyone is represented."

Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group is celebrating Pride month in style this year with activities and events on throughout June and July, culminating in a Pride event in the King's Hall and Winter Garden, Ilkley on July 1, with The Station Pub hosting Ilkley Pride’s official after-party a week later on July 8th from 7:30pm until late.

Pride Month began in the US after the Stonewall riots, a series of gay liberation protests in 1969. These days June is celebrated all over the world as the month of pride and Ilkley is no exception.

Responding to the hate mail Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group issued a statement saying: "As an Ilkley based organisation, we are often blown away by how supportive the town of Ilkley is. From local businesses putting up flags to show their support to members of the public getting in the #pridemonth spirit, it's always fantastic to see Ilkley come together each June to celebrate all the diversity and inclusivity within our little town.

"Unfortunately, over the past few days it has come to our attention that not everyone in our town is keen on living in a diverse and inclusive community. A number of local businesses have reported receiving a very unpleasant letter regarding pride month and the work we do as a local organisation.

"To the businesses that have received this letter, we apologise that you have been subjected to this. We urge you to send us a message if you have received any hateful correspondence as it has been reported to the police and local authorities. To the individual or group who felt the need to send this letter out, we hope one day you find it within yourself to be more accepting, tolerant and understanding to those living within your community.

"Thank you once again to the large number of local businesses that choose to support Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group year after year as well as all the members of the public who support us, celebrate with us and encourage us. Remember, live your life with PRIDE."