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Garden named after Mark Ashton

FORMER Young Communist League general secretary Mark Ashton has been honoured after a Paris garden was named in his memory earlier this week.

The garden of the Hotel-Lamoignon was renamed after the founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners — subject of the hit movie Pride — in a ceremony on Tuesday.

It came after communist party councillors proposed a street or public place be named after him earlier this year for his role in promoting gay rights in the trade union movement.

Mr Ashton played a key role in building support for Britain’s striking miners among the gay community during the 1984-5 dispute.

Richard Coles, who was a member of the 1980’s pop duo The Communards alongside Jimmy Sommerville, paid tribute to Mr Ashton on Facebook.

“It was Mark who was responsible for us being called The Communards. He took me and Jimmy to see the wall against which the original Communards — members of the Paris Commune — were executed in 1871 in Pere Lachaise cemetery and so we named ourselves after them. And now a public amenity in Paris remembers him.”

Mr Ashton died from pneumonia after contracting HIV in 1987. He was aged just 26.

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