IHEU member organization the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has expressed its sorrow at the death of one of its vice-presidents, George Melly. George was an early hero of the gay rights movement with his openness about his own ambiguous sexuality, told with such humour and affection in his autobiography “Rum, Bum and Concertina.” He was also a long-time supporter of secularist causes, not only as a vice president of GALHA but also an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.
GALHA’s chairman, Jim Herrick, commented: “We are very sorry to lose George Melly, he was always a colourful character and he took part in our reading of the supposedly ‘blasphemous’ poem which took place on the steps of St Martins in the Field in Trafalgar Square in 2002. We defied the law in order to mark the 25th anniversary of the prosecution of Gay News – a publication that George contributed to on more than one occasion.”
George Broadhead, another of GALHA’s vice-presidents and until recently its long-standing secretary, said: “George Melly first joined our panel of supporting vice-presidents at my invitation in 1983. In his letter of acceptance, he wrote: “I would be delighted to be one of your vice-presidents as although I am an ex gay, I remain a Humanist.” The following year he agreed to give an interview to myself and the TV columnist of our magazine in his dressing room before performing at one of his jazz concerts. I still treasure the signed copy of his autobiographical “Scouse Mouse” which had just been published.”