Tony has been a stalwart of The Gay Village for 30 + years having run venues from Dante’s and DT’S to Via and currently ON Bar.
Right back to the section 28 marches in Manchester and the early concepts of Manchester Pride, Tony has always been there in the fights for equality. Tony has an undoubted passion for the community and has been instrumental in many of the things we see and attend around Manchester’s Gay Village, including the installation of the world’s first permanent Transgender memorial in Sackville Gardens, dedicated to those that have lost their live through hate crime Transphobia and suicide. Tony is a Former Trustee and Event Director for Sparkle, The National Transgender charity, and helped to develop the event from a small one day event to the world’s largest free to attend event held over 3 days.
Tony, as well as being a multi award winning licensee, has been recognised on many occasions by the community and in 2016 was awarded the coveted Alan Turing Memorial Award for his service to Manchester’s Gay Community.
Tony has for many years organised and hosted Manchester Pride's community stage on the Sunday of The Big Weekend and always ensures that the artists who perform within Manchester’s Gay village have a chance to perform at Pride.
Having had quite a difficult ‘coming out’, I loved the feeling of acceptance and openness that I felt as a visitor to Manchester Pride and wanted to be more involved and to have that feeling all year-round! I began volunteering in 2005 (running around over the Big Weekend doing lots of jobs with the other volunteers). I was appointed as a Trustee in 2008 and was elected Chair in 2010, a role that I held for 6 years.
Being Chair of Manchester Pride was the most incredible roller-coaster ride of my life and I learned more than I ever thought possible. As Chair, I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and made a great number of friends along the way.
I had the honour of leading Manchester Pride through some of the most challenging and evolutionary periods in its existence. It involved many hundreds of hours of work and more than a few sleepless nights (on top of trying to hold down a full-time job, not to mention a relationship with a long-suffering and very patient partner!).
Since leaving the Board in December 2016, I have started my own LGBT Interfaith group called “Many Mirrors” as well as becoming a trustee of Mancunian Way, (the homelessness/anti-social behaviour reduction charity). I continue to be a mentor for the Albert Kenney Trust as well as a trustee of the Armenian Church in Manchester. I see the role of Community Ambassador as continuing to represent and promote Manchester Pride to my existing contacts and to develop new ones. Since becoming a Community Ambassador, I have been able to point groups to the grants and other types of support offered by Manchester Pride and Superbia.
I have been involved with various groups over the years including Greater Manchester Police Authority and sitting on the Independent Advisory Group LGBT. I have been involved with Manchester Pride for the past 17 years in various roles, ensuring the parade is organised on time with the team and making sure our volunteers' experience is one to remember.
Within the last 12 months I was asked to become a trustee of a local group AXM Foundation, but still heavily involved with Manchester Pride as a Community Ambassador, promoting the good of the charity and getting others involved and continuing my passion to educate others on the good of the cause.
I have volunteered with Manchester Pride covering a variety of roles including Volunteer Team Leader, Parade Manager and on Production for 17 years. Previous to this I have been a Volunteer Manager for the Children’s Air Ambulance and Greater Manchester Police Authority on the LGBT Independent Advisory Group.
As a Community Ambassador I look forward working within the LGBT community and promoting Manchester Pride’s community and fund raising events throughout the year. I have worked in the Civil Service for nearly 20 years as a Certified Counter Fraud Specialist and am currently studying a BSc in Counter Fraud and Criminology at the University of Portsmouth.