HAVING known James Ledward since 1986, I can truly say that his sad and untimely death leaves a void in the gay community of Brighton and Hove.

Initially he was a musician and oboe player. He also ran a music publishing business from two venues in Hove.

Poor health always dogged James, but this never prevented him from powering on with his subsequent work in the gay community.

James was one of those people who almost everybody on the Brighton and Hove LGBT scene recognised.

>> Tributes pour in for equality campaigner James Ledward

I class myself as a true friend of his, but because of his hectic, almost frenetic commitment to knowing what was going on, promoting equality issues and covering the true picture of gay Brighton, it was almost impossible to arrange a meal or social meet.

Most of the time, it was the chance meeting that occurred, work coming first for him.

I worked with James on numerous activities and projects, not always totally agreeing with each other, but he was always willing to listen and accommodate other people’s views, skills, experiences and knowledge.

Because of his tireless enthusiasm and energy to promote equality issues and bring the community together, it was difficult for most to get to know the true James.

From the early days of Gscene, initially a couple of A4 sheets inserted into a commercial magazine, to today’s highly successful organ of communication available across Sussex and the South of England, James encountered many supporters and critics.

He was determined to challenge individuals to account for their views and actions and in so doing alienated one or two people. As the scene changed over the years, James’s resolve persevered and I believe that much of the success of Brighton’s LGBT community, whether educational, health-wise or socially, can be rooted in his work and endeavours.

James was always a cheerful and chatty guy, who had time for everybody.

Entering a bar with a view to meeting someone, he would take time first to say hello and have a brief chat with numerous customers who knew him.

Invariably though, he would be off within a short period of time to attend the next meeting, photoshoot or meet an individual who needed his advice.

His energy, both mentally and physically, was boundless.

I’m surprised that he has never been considered for an honour because of the work and results he has achieved.

If ever there was a person deserving of a “pink plaque” or bus being named after them, it is James.

Perhaps that can be achieved in order for others to remember this truly great guy.

We will all miss you James.

Philip D Marini, Address supplied