Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, a long-time supporter of all things gay, has praised Village Drinks, the social event and online community for gay professionals.

What started as a small social gathering for gay networking two years ago has grown into a important part of the London landscape for professional gay and lesbians in the capital.

“I congratulate Village Drinks for establishing itself as a key social and professional network for lesbian and gay Londoners over the past two years,” the Mayor said.

“Professional social networks such as Village Drinks unite communities, break down stereotypes, and open up opportunities for lesbian and gay Londoners.”

Earlier this year Village Drinks founder Neil Spring made it into the Independent on Sunday Pink List of the 100 most influential gay people in Britain.

The citation for his place at number 95 read: “With precious few networks available to those in the City who feel forced to hide their sexuality at work, Village Drinks, the social club Spring set up for professional gay men and women, has proved a godsend. Membership has boomed to more than 4,000.”

The Mayor’s comments come as the networking organisation prepares to celebrate its two-year anniversary in September.

Neil Spring told PinkNews.co.uk:

“Everyone on the team is delighted to receive recognition from Ken for the work we have done and look forward to continue doing.

“Gay professionals everywhere can look to our organisation, our events and our website as a way of connecting like-minded people.”

Village Drinks organisers are planning similar events in Brighton and Manchester for the autumn, a specialised media networking evening and a theatre club.

Village Drinks website.