Durham Miners pay tribute to LGSM founder Dave Lewis

Everyone at the DMA was saddened to learn of the passing of Dave Lewis.

Dave was a founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), campaigning and raising funds throughout and beyond the 1984-85 strike.

The work of LGSM provided much-needed material and moral support for miners and their families and built friendships and networks of solidarity that survive to this day. The LGSM story was famously portrayed in the film ’Pride’.

Dave was a committed activist throughout his life. He was an active and prominent supporter of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, and a regular visitor to the Durham Miners Gala, marching with the famous LGSM banner and staffing the LGSM stall.

Together with fellow LGSM founder Mike Jackson, Dave took part in a fundraiser for the Friends of Durham Miners Gala at Redhills, Durham Miners Hall. He also arranged for an LGSM donation to the Redhills appeal in the early days of the DMA’s efforts to secure the future of Durham Miners Hall.

Dave Lewis (right) with Mick Jackson, taking part in a Q&A at a screening at Redhills of Pride, the film that tells the LGSM story.

Dave passed away on January 7. The condolences of the DMA go to the very many people who knew and loved Dave.

LGSM have released the following statement.

It is with enormous sadness that LGSM has to inform our followers of the recent death on 7th January of David Lewis.

David (or Dave as he was also known) was an original and core member of LGSM during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.  What is more, he played a central organising role once LGSM reformed itself in 2014, after the Pride movie was released, and over the last 10 years, a whole new generation of activists and supporters came to know him. In particular, he formed a strong bond with the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and carefully nurtured both the political and personal relationships between them and LGSM.

Born in London in 1959 into a working-class family of Irish and Geordie stock, he was a proud socialist and in the 80s was one of the small group of lesbian and gay Militant supporters who helped to transform its position on LGBT issues. He moved the first detailed motion on lesbian and gay rights at the Labour Party Young Socialists national conference in 1985. In the late 80s he was an activist in Trades Unionists Against Section 28, which was set up to oppose anti-LGBT legislation by the Conservative government.

From the 80s he was also an active member of the Tenants and Residents Association in his Southwark council estate, and had served as its secretary. He was an eyewitness to the fatal fire at Lakanal House in 2009. That experience left him traumatised, but he tenaciously fought for the rights and interests of the residents, testifying at the public enquiry. The failure to implement all its recommendations led to the further tragedy of Grenfell.

Dave worked at Waterloo for many years, where he was a member of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), serving for several years as Branch secretary.

Rejoining the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, he became secretary of Camberwell and Peckham CLP, until he was suspended in 2020 for allowing discussion of a motion of support for Corbyn. He then resigned from the party.

In every aspect of his life and activities he was widely admired and loved. His warmth, kindness and generosity shone out, however much he tried to camouflage it with his wicked sense of humour and sharp tongue. He was an inspiring and effective organiser, with a brilliant grasp of detail, who never sought the limelight and preferred to get stuff done rather than talk about it. Nonetheless, if thrust forward, he was an engaging and moving orator. He was also a beautiful writer, whose humanity and sensitivity enlivened every anecdote or pen-portrait of parents, friends, colleagues and comrades.

Dave’s untimely death from cancer leaves a huge gap in the movement, and is a painful loss for his partner, his family and his many friends. Our thoughts are with all those who knew and loved him.

Solidarity forever.


LGSM at the Durham Miners Gala. Dave is pictured back row, centre.