I have much to thank him for

Tony Fenwick
Tony Fenwick
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Being old fashioned, I tend to get my news somewhat late in hard copy.

What a delightful surprise to see a headline feature - Tony Fenwick - LGBT History Month co-founder receives MBE.

Well done, Tony! This is great news for you, Schools Out UK and all who share same-sex attraction.

Tony is the authoritative voice on gay matters in education.

SchoolsOUT has been providing resources, training and services to schools and educational institutions for the past 43 years.

Personally, I have much to thank him for.

During Gay History Month 2010, he made a long stressful journey from Luton to Chesterfield Library to personally encourage campaigning when I addressed an audience with readings from my novels. The presence of a national LGBT celebrity was a major boost to the proceedings. Indeed, it was an honour.

Alas the event was poorly attended in spite of efforts to achieve publicity. In addition we suffered embarrassment from an elderly woman who entered the auditorium to keep warm during a cold February evening. Inadvertently, she cheerfully joined the publicity photo shoot before the speech began - later demanding that all images with ‘the likes of you lot’ be removed. ‘I don’t want my photograph appearing in the newspaper with homosexuals.’

Angry but restrained, we were all shocked at this sudden explosion of appalling homophobia. Tony, a confident and consummate diplomat, diffused the tension with admiral skill. He was calm. He interrupted her rage against the references to LGBTs in my book and, with a smile, politely gave an assurance that her image would be deleted. I would have recommended an MBE for that tact alone!

Since 2010, his generous support for my campaigning and books has been useful and appreciated together with all the hard work he and his excellent team do for the gay community.

Narvel Annable

Belper, Derbyshire, DE56