Brighton, a small seaside town on the southern English coast, has long had a reputation around the world as a great destination for queer travellers. It's gay village has a vibrant community with many bars, shops, clubs, restaurants and hotels.
Like any community it has its characters and leaders, and this past week it lost one of its greatest most outspoken characters. Mike Dalley was known to pretty much anyone who spent any time in brightens gay village. If they didn't know him he probably made sure they soon did.
He was a successful local business man, owning and running two stores in the centre of Kemptown, the official name of the gay village area. The first was a tanning salon, and the second how I got to know Mike - the Cardome greetings card and gift store. My husband supplied him with many greetings cards and gifts.
If he wasn't found in the store he would have been in his office ... The Townhouse bar and restaurant over the road. He would hold court here for hours, and have meetings with suppliers, campaigners or just those who happened to be there.
I had the pleasure of Mike's company on just two occasions, and the impression he made was instant. A truly lovely gentleman who cared passionately about his beloved community. He had a great smile, a story for every occasion and cutting remark for those who he disagreed with.
The editor of Brightons gay scene listing, GScene, describes how when he last saw Mike in hospital his last words were to make sure that the police stopped cyclists cycling down St James Street the wrong way. Something that was a strong mission of his, until his last moments he was fighting for what he was passionate about.
In Mike's passing Brighton, and the British gay community has lost a great star.
2 days ago