‘Pride’ film hails gay rights icon

The brave actions of a Portrush man who campaigned for gay rights in the 1980s is the central story in a new British movie to be released later this month, The Coleraine Times can exclusively reveal.

Written by Stephen Beresford, ‘Pride’ tells the story of how Mark Ashton’s efforts broke down barriers in mid-80s Britain.

The film tells the true story of a group of gays and lesbians in London who decided to raise money for striking miners, because of their mutual hatred of Margaret Thatcher.

Ashton, who died of Aids at the age of 27 in 1987, studied at the former Catering College in Portrush, before moving toLondon where he became a leading gay activist.

During the 1984/85 miners strike in Wales, Ashton and his friendMike Jackson, set up ‘Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners’ (LGSM).

In doing so they raised over £20,000 for the mining familwies of the Dulais Valley in South Wales.

In the film Ben Schnetzer gives a gutsy performance as Ashton, and portrays how the local man faced suspicion from the macho Welsh miners as he tried to forge links with them.

The movie premièred at the Cannes Film festival this year, and is due for general release in the UK this month.