National award sees Phill and co bursting with Oban pride

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Only a week after pulling together one of the greatest shows in town Phill Dexter has been flying the rainbow flag for Oban on the national stage.

The Oban Pride chairman was named 2021 Community Champion at the RBS Proud Scotland Awards at a lavish ceremony in Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel on Saturday night.

His award recognises an individual who is both dynamic and stands out in their particular field while making a significant contribution to the LGBTQ+ community.

Speaking to the Oban Times this week, Phill said: When they read out my name I was actually speechless and extra emotional; it was a extremely overwhelming experience which words cannot actually describe.’

Originally from Newcastle, Phill moved to the Oban area in 2010. He is currently duty manager at Oban Phoenix Cinema and front of house at No.26 by the Sea.

The 34-year-old first got involved in Oban Pride in 2018 when Amanda Scott from Waverley Care got him and a couple of others together to talk about doing some form of Pride Event in Oban.

With Phill taking a lead role, a launch team started working behind the scenes forming a constituted group and Oban Pride was born.

‘One of the aims of Oban Pride was and always will be to provide a safe space in Oban for LGBTQ+ people to come together, where they can be themselves, celebrate how far LGBTQ+ rights have come as well as protesting and fighting for all LGBTQ+ people throughout the world to be treated equally,’ he explained.

As well as holding its annual event Oban Pride also has regular fundraisers. Phill and Oban Pride secretary Anna Gregory host a weekly Radio show on Oban FM – Oban Pride on the Waves – on Tuesdays from 9-11pm, while the group also host a monthly Friends of Dorothy Club on the first Thursday of each month from 7pm at Argyll Wellbeing Hub.

‘It is important to me and indeed the whole committee that Pride shouldn’t just be for the cities and something you attend once a year but something you can take part in year round in your own community,’ added Phill.

‘I feel that Oban Pride has had many positive effects on the Oban area, including bringing LGBTQ+ visitors to the area knowing that the town is friendly and welcoming to everyone.

‘It is also good for LGBT+ people living in the area to know that support is out there from a local organisation if they need it.

‘The partnership working that we have with different organisations in the community is amazing and we look forward to making many more of these partnerships.’

Phill and Anna attended the award ceremony in person and joined with their new friends and allies from Callendar-based Unify Salons who lifted the Small Business (Under 500 employees) Employer Award.

‘My name may be on the award but if wasn’t for the amazing team behind Oban Pride that have put so much into the work that we do then this award would never of been presented to me, this award is a much theirs as it is mine,’ concluded Phill.