Proud Voices logo

The Brian Kennedy Awards

Named after Brian Kennedy, the LGBT activist and journalist who was key in setting up the first gay choir in the UK and Ireland, this award recognises the contribution members of our Proud Voices choirs make to our choral community and is given out at the Hand in Hand‬ festivals. There are three levels of award: bronze for 10 years, silver for 20 years and gold for 30 years in a UK and/or Irish LGBT choir.

About Brian Kennedy | Award Winners 2015 | 2017 | 2019

About Brian Kennedy

Brian Kennedy

At the inaugural awards at Hand in Hand Brighton 2015, Rose Collis gave this speech to introduce Brian Kennedy.

'It’s an immense honour and pleasure to be asked to present these inaugural Brian Kennedy Awards. And it’s entirely fitting that this ceremony is taking place in Brighton. Brian moved to Brighton in 1977 to continue his studies at Sussex University. He quickly became a leading light of the Gaysoc – which I should point out was not an item of designer pink underwear.

As well as setting up social events, Brian took part in a number of campaigns against anti-gay violence, biased local press coverage and, in particular, police harassment. In his diary, he wrote, ‘Heard the police chief is very anti-gay and is out to “drive the queers out of Brighton”. One day gays may wake up in Brighton and bite back.’ Well, we did! And not just in Brighton!

In 1983, Brian joined the co-operatively run London listings magazine City Limits, as first editor of its lesbian and gay section Out in the City. For two years, on one day’s pay a week, he made that section one of the most vital and popular sections of the magazine, while also ensuring that lesbian and gay issues were covered throughout the rest of the magazine.

During those first two years, Brian had consistently pushed for the section to have a lesbian co-editor. As he joked, he could be many things to many people, but being a lesbian wasn’t one of them. In 1985, the magazine finally found enough money to pay for that co-editor – and, to my immense surprise, I was appointed. For the next four years, Brian and I worked tirelessly with meagre resources and unrelenting pressure to produce a section that we believed and knew was so important to our community.

At that time, Out in the City was the only section of the mainstream or alternative media guaranteed to give equal coverage to lesbian culture and politics. And that in itself is a credit to Brian’s foresight and understanding of the diverse and specific needs of different parts of the community.

But then Brian was a man of great vision: he envisaged what the community could be and devoted his energies and talents to bringing about positive changes that would lay foundations for the future. He helped found the London Lesbian & Gay Centre; he was secretary of the Gay Business Association. And, crucially, Brian was one of the first journalists in Europe to write about AIDS, and to campaign for government action in combatting the disease.

It was an ironic tragedy that such action came too late to save Brian.

But, of course, we have one of Brian’s greatest legacies here today. The Pink Singers, which he founded with Mark Bunyan, was the UK’s first gay choir and is now the UK’s largest LGBT choir. I can scarcely believe that it’s nearly 25 years since we lost Brian. But he is here with us today. This festival is part of his vision, and part of his legacy. We haven’t lost his voice: for it can be heard every time one of our choirs sing of equality, of justice, of love and of pride.'

2015 Award Winners

Bronze awards

  • Wendy Baker
  • Ian Baxter
  • Steve Bown
  • Steve Bradbury
  • Martin Brophy MBE
  • Gerry Carter
  • Hsien Chew
  • Adam Clarke
  • Nic Collins
  • Dave Cooper
  • Elly Curran
  • Rhiannon Davies
  • Adam Dawkins
  • Barry Dowling
  • Ian Doyle
  • Jane Edwardson
  • Ian Faulkner
  • Andy Fellows
  • Jose Fernandez
  • Jeremy Frewer
  • Stuart Gibson
  • Anne Golden
  • Rob Grady
  • Silvio Grasso
  • Lesley Hart
  • Sarah Howell-Davies
  • Juliet Hurn
  • Kate Karban
  • Martin Kaufman
  • Sacha Kester
  • Paul Khan
  • Andrew Kingston
  • Mike Lake
  • Paul Lancaster
  • Cherry Lander
  • Brian Liddy
  • Val Macrae
  • Bill Majrowski
  • Rebecca Matthews
  • Brett McHargue
  • Clare Milton-Thompson
  • Andy Moffat
  • James Murphy
  • Tim Neal
  • Emelda Nicholroy
  • Addie Orfila
  • Fiona Outram
  • Graham Parker
  • Lesley Pattenson
  • Julia Pearmain
  • Karen Pettersen
  • David Plaister
  • Greg Price
  • Deidre Quill
  • Simon Sharp
  • David Standing
  • Hester Swift
  • Liang Wee
  • Faye White
  • Simon Wilkinson
  • Mark Winter
  • Tanya Wright

Silver awards

  • Chris Denning
  • Michael Derrick
  • Neil Forsyth
  • Mary Fyfe
  • Sé Lynch
  • Philip Rescorla
  • Louis Schroeder

2017 Award Winners

Bronze awards

  • Dollar Abbott - Rainbow Voices
  • Thomas Aird - Brighton GMC
  • Claire Alleguen - The Pink Singers
  • Markie Barratt - Rainbow Chorus
  • Pauline Baseley - Diversity Choir
  • Carsten Bergerfurth - Diversity Choir
  • Michelle Berman - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Roger Blake - Diversity Choir
  • Anthony Blendall - Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus
  • Frances Bowen - Diversity Choir
  • Ben Castle - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Trevor Clarke - London Gay Men's Chorus
  • Susannah Colgate - Rainbow Chorus
  • Gill Davies - Rainbow Chorus
  • Ele Deimann - Diversity Choir
  • Rod Edmunds - Brighton GMC
  • Paul Fairweather - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Nigel Farmer - LGMC
  • Anthony Fordham - LGMC
  • Steen Gerlif - Brighton GMC
  • Simonne Gnessen - Rainbow Chorus
  • Nicholas Gurreri - LGMC
  • Michelle Hebborn - Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus
  • George Leach - Brighton GMC
  • Carrie Morrow - Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus
  • John Moysen - LGMC
  • Donald Mullis - LGMC
  • Jose Alberto Fernandez Redonet - LGMC
  • Karin Read - The Pink Singers
  • Adrian Ryder - LGMC
  • Jim Robertson - LGMC
  • Carolyn Stevens - Rainbow Voices
  • Steve Wagner - LGMC
  • Vivien Walsh - Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus
  • Karen Wilkinson-Clark - Rainbow Voices
  • Emma Wilkinson-Clark - Rainbow Voices
  • Amy Wilman - Rainbow Chorus

Silver awards

  • Al Booth - Diversity Choir
  • Rex Melville - Diversity Choir
  • Lesley Pattenson - Rainbow Voices
  • Deidre Quill - Gay Abandon
  • Jenny Wattis - Gay Abandon

Gold awards

  • Michael Derrick - The Pink Singers

2019 Award Winners

Bronze awards

  • Elaine Adair - Quire
  • Mary Allebone - Out Aloud
  • Mel Andrews - Gay Abandon
  • Sylvia Ashton - Out Aloud
  • Susy Baker - Rainbow Chorus
  • Chris Baker - Resound Male Voices
  • Sandra Baker-Donnelly - Out Aloud
  • Mary Barden - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Stuart Bateson - Out Aloud
  • Pierre Beguin - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Naomi Berwin - The Pink Singers
  • Adam Betteridge - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Kezia Bibby - Rainbow Chorus
  • Martin Bowles - Quire
  • Finola Brophy - Rainbow Chorus
  • Andy Bulleyment - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Steve Caley-Burnell - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Tony Caley-Burnell - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • John - Cartwright - Out Aloud
  • Linda Chandler - Thames Valley Gay Chorus
  • Paul Charlton - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Liz Church - Out Aloud
  • Deborah Clarke - Sing With Pride
  • Nigel Cooke - Sing Out Bristol
  • Liz Cooper - Thames Valley Gay Chorus
  • Ashley Crawford - Out Aloud
  • Rónán de Búrca - Sing Out Bristol
  • Jill DesForges - Out Aloud
  • Tony Donaghy - Quire
  • Suzanne Doyle - Sing Out Bristol
  • Mark Elsworth - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Paul Fairweather - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Duane Farrell - Quire
  • Christopher Fossey - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • David Fullman - Sing With Pride
  • Nicholas Gill - Sing Out Bristol
  • Tammy Goldfeld- Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Jo Goodison - Out Aloud
  • Steven Gray - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Ian Groves - Actually Gay Men's Chorus
  • Matt Guest - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Victoria Guise - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Lisa Halse - Out Aloud
  • Peter Hardy-vanDoorn - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Simon Harrison - The Pink Singers
  • Emma Harvey - Gay Abandon
  • Bob Hillis - London Gay Men's Chorus
  • Ben Hubbard - Diversity Choir
  • Mark Hubbard - Sing Out Bristol
  • Patsy Hudson - European Queer Choir
  • Ruth Humphreys - Thames Valley Gay Chorus
  • Viv Jackson - Gay Abandon
  • Peter Jewell - Liverpool LGBT Singers
  • Michael Jorgenson-Price - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Joe King - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Nik King - Out Aloud
  • Vic Knott - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • David Lawrenson - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Joelle Leader - Rainbow Chorus
  • Nigel Lewis - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • David Lilly - Resound Male Voices
  • Esther MacInnes - Gay Abandon
  • Carter Maddison-Brown - Out Aloud
  • Sean Maddison-Brown - Out Aloud
  • Angela Marsden- European Queer Choir
  • Lorna Marsh - Rainbow Chorus
  • Gerry McGrattan - Quire
  • Nick McNeill - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Diane Mills - Liverpool LGBT Singers
  • Ken Moffett - Quire
  • Carrie Morrow - Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus
  • Andy Murdock - Quire
  • Ruth Nelson - Out Aloud
  • Ruth Nichol - Out Aloud
  • Margaret Nolan - Out Aloud
  • David Nowicki-Stephen - Resound Male Voices
  • Antony Oliver - Resound Male Voices
  • Mary Ann Orme - Out Aloud
  • Nick Owen - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Phil Palmer - Resound Male Voices
  • Ben Park - The Pink Singers
  • Angie Piesold - Out Aloud
  • Charlotte Piney - Out Aloud
  • Maddie Proll - Gay Abandon
  • Val Regan - Out Aloud
  • Michael Reynolds - Sing Out Bristol
  • Laura Richardson - Out Aloud
  • Anthony Rider - Gay Abandon
  • Chris Rollings - Gay Abandon
  • Rebecca Rose - Rainbow Chorus
  • Michelle Savage - Sing WIth Pride
  • Stevie Savage - Sing WIth Pride
  • Ian Seymour - Out Aloud
  • Graham Simpson - Thames Valley Gay Chorus
  • Sally-Anne Smith - The Pink Singers
  • Pete Spain - Sing Out Bristol
  • Craig Stephenson - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Chris Tippett - Actually Gay Men's Chorus
  • Sadao Ueda - Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Rosie Valerio - Out Aloud
  • Jules Ward - Barberfellas
  • Lesley Welch - European Queer Choir
  • Stephen Whitehead - South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Nick Williams - Thames Valley Gay Chorus
  • Linda Wilson - Out Aloud

Silver awards

  • Steve Aston - Gay Abandon
  • Wendy Baker - Deep C Divas
  • Ian Baxter - Gay Abandon
  • Rachel Belk - The Sacred Wing
  • Martin Brophy MBE - European Queer Choir
  • Adam Clarke - Rainbow Chorus
  • Matthew Cook - Diversity Choir
  • Rhiannon Davies - Deep C Divas
  • Jane Edwardson - Gay Abandon
  • Anne Golden - European Queer Choir
  • Hazel Gregory - The Sacred Wing
  • Sarah Howell-Davies - Diversity Choir
  • Kate Karban - Gay Abandon
  • Martin Kaufman - London Gay Men's Chorus
  • Val Macrae - Rainbow Chorus
  • Rebecca Matthews - Gay Abandon
  • Clare Milton-Thompson - Gay Abandon
  • Tim Neal - Gay Abandon
  • Julia Pearmain - Deep C Divas
  • Deirdre Quill - Gay Abandon
  • Fiona Thompson - The Sacred Wing
  • Camilla Veale - Gay Abandon
  • River Wolton - Deep C Divas