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CHE in Morecambe

Confusion reigns over whether CHE will be allowed to meet in Morecambe or not. It now appears that although the Council don’t want CHE, the owners of the pier on which the conference was going to be held still do. The council have suggested that the pier is ‘unsafe’, but this is strongly refuted by the pier’s owners and manager.

It seems that it has only just dawned on the Council that the letters stand for Campaign for HOMOSEXUAL Equality, – so they’re objecting on ‘moral’ grounds. Like Weymouth, they don’t fancy the idea of a gay ‘invasion’.

The only remaining stumbling block is the approval of the town’s Publicity Committee – who have said that they originally endorsed CHE’s application on ‘incomplete information’.

Other problems have arisen over accommodation – only two hotels amongst all those written to, gave a favourable reply. Elsewhere empty hotels are suddenly ‘full’ when CHE needs rooms.

The issue has now become a matter of public debate – the ‘Morecambe Guardian’ has pointed out that the council could be liable for damages for breaking their contract. The story has also been reported in the ‘Morecambe Visitor’ and ‘Lancashire Evening Post’.

CHE has decided to go to Morecambe anyway, booking their accommodation and facilities privately (since it is now too late to change their venue) and will lobby councillors and appeal to the people of Morecambe to raise enough cash to pay for it all.

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19720914-10Fracas At Gay Pub

On Friday 16th September, at approximately 10.30pm, five members of the Gay Liberation Front were arrested by Notting Hill police after 20 gays in drag tried to buy drinks in the Champion pub on Bayswater Road.

Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourn, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were bailed by the police after being held in the cells for at least three hours. They claim they were not allowed to make any telephone calls while they were being held.

And they charge the police with using unnecessary violence and using insulting behaviour against them.

Gay News got the tip-off from Peter from Barnes, who was outside the pub with his boyfriend. Scotland Yard checked out the information he gave them and told him:

“Don’t quote me on this, but we hate these sort of problems.

“It’s up to the landlord of the pub to refuse to sell drinks to anyone, and to ask them to leave. If they won’t leave he can call the police. If they still won’t leave they can be charged with obstructing the police in the course of their duty.”

The drag gays are charged with a number of offences including one of obstructing the footpath, two of obstructing the police and two of threatening behaviour.

But they say the threatening behaviour was not just one-sided. Gay News was told:

“What was really terrifying was not just the fact that the police pulled our hair, which you can expect, But also, as well as getting all the ‘Yes, ducky’, ‘No, ducky’ remarks the arresting officer pulled Doug’s hair in the police van and said: ‘We’ll get you later’.”

Trouble broke out when the landlord decided not to serve the drag gays, who had had a social. Then, they sat down. The landlord called the police and three policemen entered the pub to clear the sit-down protesters. Outside there were two police vans, two panda cars and two squad cars.

The gays were released, after being stripped and questioned, at about 2am. They were bailed to appear at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court the next day.

The full story will appear in Gay News No. 8.

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19720901-14John Wojtowic, the gay bank robber, has said under questioning that he got the idea for raiding the Brooklyn branch of the Chase Manhattan bank after meeting one of the bank’s executives in a New York gay bar.

The executive told him the best time to stage the raid would be 3pm, since the armoured car would not call to collect the days money till 3.30pm. However, on the day in question the car had called in the morning, so there was less money than John expected.

It is expected that police will be questioning the bar’s customers to discover who the executive is, if he exists.

John was also accompanied on the raid by Donald Matterson, aged 18. Reports of what has happened to him are somewhat confused, but he appears to have escaped on foot when he saw the police arriving on the scene.