Brighton Pride honours ‘oldest gay in the village’ with special bus

·2-min read
Brighton Pride tribute to George Montague (Brighton Pride/Instagram/Chris Jepson)
Brighton Pride tribute to George Montague (Brighton Pride/Instagram/Chris Jepson)

Brighton Pride has paid tribute to gay rights campaigner and self-proclaimed “Oldest Gay in the Village”, George Montague, with a special Pride bus.

Montague, who passed away in March aged 98, was well-loved among the city’s LGBT+ community.

He regularly attended Pride celebrations in an electric wheelchair adorned with Pride flags and signs.

This year, the organisers of Brighton Pride honoured Montague with a special bus.

The personalised bus bears his name in bold capital letters and the moniker: “Oldest Gay in the Village”.

A photograph shared to Brighton Pride’s Instagram account showed Montague’s widower, Somchai Phukkhla, standing with the tribute.

Speaking to ITV News, Phukkhla said the bus was a “wonderful way to honour George”.

“He loved the Pride parade, and people loved seeing him part of it. Now he can continue to be remembered every year.

“The bus also runs past my house, so I can now look out for it every day. Thanks to everyone at Brighton & Hove Buses for this overwhelming gesture.”

Montague’s daughter, Paula Farrow, said the family is “extremely proud” of his “many achievements”.

“Brighton Pride was always his favourite day of the year and we know he would have been thrilled to be honoured in this way.”

In a statement to The Independent, Brighton Pride said: “As ‘the oldest gay in the village’ George Montague was one of the highlights of our annual LGBT+ community parade and always got huge cheers wherever he went.

“As a tireless campaigner for equality he was instrumental in getting legislation changes and government apologies. His work has made a huge difference to thousands of people and he will be very much missed. Rest in power George.”

Montague famously campaigned for an apology over a conviction of gross indecency in 1974 after the UK government ruled in 2016 that it would pardon gay and bisexual men who had previously been convicted under historical anti-gay laws.

Montague shared a last message to the world on Twitter before his death in March, thanking followers for their support.

“George is wishing to say goodbye. He thanks everyone who have been supporting his campaigns that he might had helped a little for us to live in a better world,” the tweet said.

“Everyone please continue your good works for good causes. I shall rest now. Goodby, George.”