A 93-YEAR-OLD gay man has received an official apology from the government more than 40 years after he was convicted for a crime which has since been abolished.
Former Burnham resident George Montague was convicted of gross indecency with a man in 1974 and had his conviction repealed in 2004.
The government also gave official pardons to thousands of gay and bisexual men earlier this year, who had been convicted under historic laws which had originally criminalised them.
But Mr Montague had always argued for an apology since the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised private homosexual acts. He had also insisted a pardon was not enough.
Last week he received a letter from the Home Office offering him an ‘abject apology’ from the government. He said: “I was over the moon, better than I could have possibly expected.”
Mr Montague was a senior commissioner in the Boy Scout Association in 1974 where he had run camps for children. He was a scouting colleague of recently deceased Second World War II veteran, Arthur Grout, who established the 1st Lent Rise scout troop in Burnham, based around Institute Road, Taplow.
Mr Grout’s son, David Grout, 58, of Bannard Road, Maidenhead, remembers Mr Montague fondly, as he was a scout himself at the time.
He said: “He is certainly a strong-willed character and certainly deserved that apology because the laws have changed and people are starting to see things differently.”
Mr Grout said it had been a sad occasion when Mr Montague had been forced to leave the scouts in the 1970sseventies after it emerged he was homosexual.
He added: “He lost faith after that for a while because people reacted differently. His input into the scouts at the time was quite considerable – he was a very good entertainer and at the camps he would stand in front of people and run the show. He was a good singer and had a great voice.”