Born in Lancashire in 1927, Allan was raised by his grandparents on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.  He spent 3 years in the Royal Air Force in 1947 and it was while he was there that he met his life partner Harold Pollard. In 1956, he joined the Labour Party, and, within two years, became the local councillor for the town of Nelson - a position that allowed him to implement progressive changes for the LGBTQ community.  

During his three years in office, Allan campaigned for homosexual law reform and for findings published in The Wolfenden Report (the main one being to legalise homosexual acts between consenting adults in private) to be implemented. The report's recommendations led to The Sexual Offences Act which became law in 1967.  

This trailblazing reform was pivotal to Britain’s emerging homosexual rights movement and led Allan to set up one of the first grassroots gay rights organisations in 1964; the North-West Homosexual Law Reform Committee (which would later become the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in 1971). 

At its prime, this organisation remains the most successful large-scale, member-driven LGBT organisation in Britain, having had over 130 local groups and a membership of over 5,000.  

In 1996, following the loss of Harold, his partner of 48 years, Allan stepped away from the political forefront, although he remained involved in the movement. Allan died in 2012, but his commitment to the movement have led him to be regarded by many as the grandfather of the modern gay rights movement in Britain. 

To learn more about LGBT+ history month, please visit 

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Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.