Blackpool: Gay nightclub owner receives MBE for services to the LGBT community

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A gay nightclub owner in Blackpool has been recognised with an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

Basil Newby received the honour for services to business and the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender community.

He told the BBC: “I kind of feel like this is for Blackpool as well as for me because I’m a Sandgrownun: I was born and bred in Blackpool.

“The businesses I’ve been [running] now for 35 years and it’s just lovely after all that time that something that is part of Blackpool gets recognition.”

Mr Newby worked as a bluecoat at Pontin’s in the early 1970s. His first business was the ‘Gone Gay’ fancy goods shop in Blackpool. He opened the town’s first gay nightclub, The Flamingo, in 1979.

The Flamingo building was demolished in 2007. He launched the cabaret show bar Funny Girls in 1994, described as a “Broadway musical meets rock concert meets Lily Savage”.

He currently runs several LGBT venues in the Blackpool area.

Meanwhile, gay comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig has received an OBE.