Brighton – 10am, 6th August, 2022: Brighton & Hove Buses, which featured two buses in this year’s Brighton & Hove Pride celebrations, has unveiled a special Pride bus featuring local legend, gay-rights campaigner and self-proclaimed ‘The Oldest Gay in the Village’, George Montague.
Montague, a famous fixture of Brighton Pride who joined the parade year after year on his rainbow mobility scooter, tirelessly fought to receive an apology from the government for a conviction for gross indecency in the 1970s. His mission, though ultimately successful, took 43 years. The 98-year-old sadly passed away peacefully at home in March of this year, with his husband Somchai Phukkhlai by his side.
Now, George Montague has been immortalised on an open top bus (fleet number 919) which was unveiled today and attended by George’s husband Somchai.
Somchai said: “This is such 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.” George’s daughter, Paula Farrow, said: "The Montague family are extremely proud and very grateful to Brighton and Hove Buses for naming the bus after George in recognition of his long life and 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."
Ed Wills, Managing Director at Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus, said: “We are proud to support Brighton’s brilliant and diverse LGBTQ+ community by honouring a local hero such as George. For many years he was an integral part of the Brighton & Hove Pride parade, and now he can continue to be part of it for years to come.”
A spokesperson for Brighton & Hove Pride said: “As 'the oldest gay in the village' George Montague was one of the highlights of our annual LGBTQ+ 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.”
You can now see George Montague immortalised on Brighton & Hove open top bus 919