• LGSM at a Pride rally in the 1980s. (LGSM.)Source: LGSM.
Mark Ashton rallied the local LGBTQI community's support for striking miners in South Wales in the 1980s, and was memorialised in the popular film, 'Pride'. He's now been memorialised with a plaque in in front of the 'Gay's the Word' bookshop in London, where he created LGSM.
By
Chloe Sargeant

22 May 2017 - 1:34 PM  UPDATED 22 May 2017 - 1:34 PM

A plaque commemorating the life of Mark Ashton - the young gay activist whose passionate work rallying support for the Welsh miners in the 1980s was memorialised in the film Pride - has been placed in London.

Ashton was the secretary of the Young Communist League, and founded Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) in 1984. He passed away only three years later of AIDS-related complications at the age of 26.

LGSM would get together for meetings at the Gay's the Word bookshop in London, where Ashton would rally community support for the mining communities in South Wales who were dealing with pit closures, and were consequently living in near-poverty.

Along with the members of LGSM, Ashton carried out bucket collections in London's gay and lesbian bars and clubs. They ended up raising around £20,000 for Welsh mining communities.

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The plaque memorialising Ashton was placed at the Gay's the Word bookshop, in Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury, London.

The unveiling of the plaque took place on May 19th, which would have been Ashton's 57th birthday.

Co-founder of LGSM, Mike Jackson, told the Morning Star that the loss of Mark was still widely felt:

"To this day, Mark’s loss remains deeply felt by so many family members and friends.

“Driven, principled and charismatic, Mark would have achieved so much more if he had not died so young. We are so proud to now be installing a permanent memorial to our lost friend. Solidarity forever!”

Ashton's philanthropic achievements were immortalised in the celebrated 2014 film, Pride. Upon the film's release, Jackson told PinkNews that he had previously feared that both Ashton's and LGSM's incredible stories would never be told:

“I mean we are still so thrilled that this has happened because there was a great danger that the story would be lost to history forever."

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