An obituary by Schools OUT UK (LGBT+ History Month)

Tony was a giant of our LGBTQ+ movement. Tony dedicated his life to education and the pursuit of justice for all. He was a lifelong trade unionist and for over 20 years focussed on fair play for LGBTQ+ students and staff in schools, as a volunteer in Schools OUT UK (reg. charity). He served as its CEO for over a decade, working with Sue Sanders, founder and co-chair, on LGBTQ+ History Month (held in February since 2005).

Tony was awarded an MBE for his ‘services to equality in education’ in 2016. He regarded the MBE as an honour for all in the LGBTQ+ movement, saying he hoped to ‘use the gong to lobby parliament to encourage the nations of the Commonwealth to get rid of the Empire’s outdated legislation and legalise same-sex relations throughout their lands’.


An experienced English teacher, Tony taught in many secondary schools and over the last decade provided individual tuition to children who were unable to attend school for medical reasons, a role he cherished. Tony represented Luton as the equality officer at the NUT (now NEU) full conference

for over 12 years, was a founding member of the of the NUT LGBTQ+ structures and a permanent feature at the Trade Union Council Annual LGBT+ Conference.

Kevin Courtney, joint national secretary of the NEU said, “Such a lovely man and yes, he has taught a lot of us so much.” We at Schools OUT UK are grateful for the privilege of working with such a talented, patient, humorous guy and will miss him sorely.

As Amy Macmillan, committee member, said: “If you are an LGBT+ person in the UK, particularly if you are under the age of 30, you WILL have benefitted from Tony’s work over the years, even if you didn’t know it.”

He is survived by his sister Cheryl, her husband Tom Fenwick-Brown, their daughters, Ashley and Sarah, Ashley’s husband, Sandeep and their son Ayush with whom he loved spending Christmas in his native Newcastle.

Please support the GoFundMe page that has been set up by the National Education Union in Tony’s memory.

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