LGBT activists in Liverpool have begun a campaign to honour one of the city’s most prominent gay residents.

Brian Epstein was one of the most influential figures in the ‘Mersey Beat’ movement in the early 1960s.

As well as managing The Beatles until his death in 1967, he launched the careers of Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Gary Everett, artistic director of Liverpool’s annual LGBT arts festival Homotopia, told the Liverpool Echo:

“The time is right for Epstein’s vast legacy, to the city and to the world, to be remembered.

“A public statue is a fitting way to honour the vast contribution he made to popular culture.”

Liverpool is European Capital of Culture 2008.

Epstein, born in the city, was only 32 when he died of a drug overdose in his London home.

His death had a profound effect on The Beatles.

“If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian,” said Paul McCartney. After his death the group increasingly grew apart.

A local councillor has given his backing to an Epstein memorial.

Councillor Eddie Clein put a motion before Liverpool City Council this week supporting the proposal.

“Without Brian Epstein, The Beatles wouldn’t have been what they were,” he said.

“They would have been another Liverpool group kicking around the clubs.

“I believe we’re doing the right thing in fully supporting a memorial.”