Friends of Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles have leapt to the presenter’s defence after he was named Bully of the Year at the Stonewall Awards last night.

Stonewall supporters chose Moyles out of a list of public figures including former Muslim Council of Britain head Sir Iqbal Sacranie and the Archbishop of Westminster, who are seen to have caused distress in the gay community recently.

Announcing the award at the Royal Academy of Arts, host Sir Ian McKellen said: “Chris Moyles repeatedly uses the word gay in the playground sense without apology, that is inappropriate language for a host of a national breakfast show who speaks to millions of young children.”

But Radio1 defended Moyles, a spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk: “Chris’s friends and listeners don’t see him in this way at all.”

Campaigners called for the DJ to be sacked earlier this year after repeatedly using the word “gay” in a derogatory manner, most recently to describe a ringtone.

BBC governors backed the DJ saying the items “met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia.”

The independent committee recognised Moyles’ comments may have caused offence, but said the use of the word “gay” to mean “lame” or “rubbish” was widespread amongst young people.

After announcing the award, Sir Ian waited to see if anyone from the BBC had come to collect it and then proceeded to parody what Moyles’ response would be and labelled him a “loud mouth Yorkshireman.”

Sir Ian said Moyles should keep his prejudices to himself.

Other winners on the night included PinkNews.co.uk for Publication of the Year, the Albert Kennedy Trust received Community Group of the Year and Staffordshire Police was named Employer of the Year.