It’s been quite a year for George Montague, aka “the oldest gay in the village”.
It’s also been a lot of years since he believed that if he got married he could stop being gay.
Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
George, now 92, this week converted his civil partnership with long-term partner Somchai Phukkhlai into a marriage at Brighton Town Hall.
And once again, on his mobility scooter, he took pride of place in this weekend’s Gay Icons LGBT Community Parade, representing older people as the English town celebrated 25 years of Pride.
George, born in 1923, left school in 1937 aged 14, saying in his own words: “I was not grammar school material.”
The only thing he was good at was woodwork so he became a pattern maker.
In 1941 he was 18 and desperate to join up and fight for his country. Despite working in a reserve occupation, which meant he didn’t have to fight, he managed to pass the test and was accepted as an air crew wireless operator/air gunner, but failed the exams.
He was posted to Southern Rhodesia where he was promoted to the rank of corporal as a physical training instructor. On being demobbed he started his own pattern making business which eventually moved from wood into metal patterns and became very successful.
George realised he was gay in his twenties, when it was illegal to be homosexual. But like many of his friends at the time, he married at age 37.
His wife, Vera, knew George’s gay friends but the issue of his sexuality was never discussed. They had three children and George now has three grandchildren who he is very proud of and loves dearly.
George met Somchai in London and they have homes in Brighton and Thailand, where they spend the English winter.
CLICK HERE to see what George got up to in last year’s Brighton Pride parade or watch the video below.