Ashton memorial is approved by Council

After a motion was successfully passed at a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, a consultation will now take place with the family of Mark Ashton and local LGBTQ groups regarding a suitable memorial to the Portrush man.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:15 pm

In February, an online petition started calling for recognition for the LGBT campaigner in his home town of Portrush.

The petition asked for the late Mark Ashton to be honoured in Portrush for his work to raise money to help families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.

Mark Ashton’s campaigning was highlighted in the 2014 film ‘Pride’ starring Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton. He died in 1987 aged 26.

SDLP councillor Margaret Anne McKillop brought the motion to Council on Tuesday evening. DUP councillors and one independent unionist councillor opposed the consultation but the proposal was ratified.

Ms McKillop said it was fitting that it was approved at the start of Pride month: “I hope that it sends a message to LGBT+ people across our district that they are valued and loved.

“Mark dedicated his life to activism and the pursuit of equal rights - whether it was for workers or the LGBT+ community, his passion for justice was an inspiration.

“I hope that a lasting memorial will inspire a new generation and demonstrate our immense pride in his life’s work.”

Ms McKillop said a significant sum of money for the memorial had been raised by activists and trade unions.