Tesco has sparked outrage after dropping its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’, and announcing shortly after that it would now become a headline sponsor of Britain’s largest gay festival.
The supermarket giant has supported Cancer Research for more than a decade, helping the charity raise hundreds of millions of pounds towards combating the illness – estimated to affect one in three of the population.
But now the retail chain has signed a deal to become a major sponsor of Pride London, and will host the festival’s family area for the second year running. The family area will provide entertainment and activities for younger children.
Critics have hit out at Tesco’s announcement and called for a boycott of the chain.
Francis Phillips, a commentator at The Catholic Herald, criticised the move, saying: “Tesco is a supermarket.
“Its remit has been to sell good-quality food and other items at very reasonable prices, and in this it has been hugely successful.
“Why has it now aligned itself with an aggressive political organisation such as Pride London?
“Why has it given up its sponsorship of Cancer Research? Or at least…why hasn’t it taken up with another mainstream charity such as the British Legion or Age UK?
“There are thousands of ex-servicemen and wounded soldiers needing help in this country, and millions of elderly people in danger of neglect.
“They are a fundamental part of the fabric of our society – the kind of fabric that Tesco should be reflecting.”
David Skinner of Anglican Mainstream, which supports marriage and family life, has written to complain to Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke and the chain’s chief executive of retailing services, Andrew Higginson.
Mr Higginson, said: “Our ‘Out at Tesco’ team will be working closely with Pride London to ensure next year’s event is even more fun.”
Tesco said it was discussing with Cancer Research how it could support the charity’s work in other ways and would encourage staff to continue taking part in the Race for Life.
A spokesman said the decision to drop its support “is not connected to our £30,000 sponsorship for Pride, which is one of hundreds of community and charitable events that we will be supporting next year”.
London’s annual ‘gay pride’ parade, Pride London, will be extended to two days next year when it hosts the global WorldPride 2012 festival in the summer.