'Oldest gay in the village' George Montague dies aged 98

A gay rights campaigner from Brighton, affectionately known as 'the oldest gay in the village' has died at the age of 98.

George Montague was a well-known and much-loved figure at Brighton Pride, taking part in the parade every year on his rainbow mobility scooter.

His partner of 25 years, Somchai, was always at his side.

He passed away peacefully at home on Friday, March 18th.

George and Somchai handing in his petition at Downing Street in 2016
George petitioned to get a government apology 'before I die'

George fought tirelessly to get an apology from the British government for a conviction of gross indecency in the 1970s.

Gay and bisexual men were pardoned in 2016, but he felt nothing short of apology would make up for the discrimination he and thousands of others had faced.

It took him 43 years, but he finally received a letter in 2017, having vowed to make it his life's ambition.

WATCH George's reaction after he finally received an apology in 2017

George as a young man

George realised he was gay in his twenties, and was convicted of gross indecency in 1974.

Like many gay men living in the UK when homosexuality was criminalised, Montague married a woman, and had three children.

They were together for more than twenty years but eventually divorced, and in 1997 George met his partner Somchai Phukkhlai. 

WATCH- Loving life- George sings to his husband

They entered into a civil partnership in 2006 and married in 2015 in Brighton Town Hall.

Shortly before he died, he released a statement via social media.

“Dear friends and supporters, George is wishing to say goodbye,” it read.

“He thanks everyone who has been supporting his campaigns, [and hopes] that he might have helped a little for us to live in a better world.

“Everyone please continue your good works for good causes. I shall rest now, goodbye. George, 98.”