North West London Lesbian and Gay Group, based in Harrow, hosted two successful events to celebrate its 50 years of meeting in the borough.
There was perfect weather for a picnic in Pinner Park on Easter Monday say they team, adding that the prosecco and snacks were ‘very enjoyable’ with 24 members present on a lovely afternoon in the sun.
The highlight event was on 19 April at Trinity Bar, Harrow Town Centre, with just under 50 people.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sasi Suresh presented the Chair with a beautiful handcrafted glass trophy to commemorate 50 years and toasted the group. After cutting the commemorative cake, a large buffet was then enjoyed by all attendees.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Sasi Suresh said: “I’m very pleased to be asked to attend this special event. It is now 51 years since this organisation was started by four friends in 1971. They met regularly in Central London to plan protest actions against the the illegality of homosexual acts.
“Some of the founding members wanted to be more political, others wanted a social gathering where they could meet like-minded people.
“So in 1971 a small group was formed to have social events in Harrow. The group has met in many different private function rooms in Harrow and Brent over the last 51 years and owing to covid-19 was unable to celebrate its 50th anniversary last year.
“I’m pleased that I can be here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this very long standing social group. The group tries to represent and reach out to all strands of lesbian gay and the wider community. At present the group is under represented by ethnic minorities who possibly feel difficulty in being more open about their sexuality, therefore in the coming decade this is a prime objective of the group to attract ethnic minorities and other hard to reach groups.
“Over the years your group has provided a very welcoming, friendly place to meet like minded people. You have many different events, speakers, quizzes, weekends away, picnics, walks, tennis, badminton.
“You name it the group has tried most social activities. It is very good to see so many people at this event and senior members of our local community attending.
“Over the years there have been many people contributing a large amount to the running and wellbeing of this group. The group and I would like to single out Rodger and Malcolm for all the hard work that they have done over many years, including directing, acting, producing, writing, and performing many shows and pantomimes..
“On behalf of the North West London Lesbian and Gay Group I would like to present them with a framed certificate that will give them membership for life and we all wish them great happiness in their move abroad.
“I would also like to present to the group a trophy to represent the many long years in existence and hope that this will remain with the group for future committees and membership. I would now like you to raise your glasses in a toast to NWLLGG to continue as a welcoming and safe space for LGBT people in North West London.
”I will now cut the cake and ask you to join me in celebrating this very special evening. Thank you”
The group was also happy to welcome Former Mayor, Cllr Krishna Suresh and Chief Superintrndent Leach of the Met Police with several of her officers also attending the event.
NWLLGG Chair Malcolm said: “I would like to welcome and thank Councillor Sasikala Suresh, Deputy Mayor of Harrow and Commander Chief Superintendent Sara Leach and Officers for attending our 50th Anniversary party.
“I am also pleased that several previous Chairs of the group could be here tonight. It’s a special event for us, making us one of the longest running LGBTQ social groups in London. I have been a member of this group for about 40 years, during this time our group and society have gone through huge changes. The group had a membership of over 100 when I first joined and was one of many local LGBTQ social groups.
“We are now the only remaining local group. Younger LGBTQ people are far more accepted in society than in my youth and don’t necessarily need the comfort and group protection that we provide. To have this special evening with our Civic leaders and Senior police, shows how far we have come as a society.
“We have achieved a lot but these gains are easily lost and I think we still provide a unique and necessary role in society. After the formal events we will show two short films highlighting our history. Thank you Deputy Mayor and Chief Superintendent Leach.”
NWLLGG hopes to continue forging close ties to the local community in the years ahead. The group can be contacted through its website nwlgay.com and is always happy to welcome new people to our weekly meetings.