An outspoken advocate for the rights of gay and lesbian teachers and pupils has died.

Paul Patrick, Co-Chair of Schools OUT and LGBT History Month passed away on Thursday. He was 58.

He had been suffering from a chronic lung condition.

Mr Patrick came out as gay when he was 19, just two years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

He began his teaching career in Lewisham, “at a time when gay and lesbian teachers were statutorily sacked if discovered; for he was out and proud and angry,” Schools OUT said in a statement.

“In 1974, Paul helped found the London Gay Teachers Group when he was teaching English and Drama.

“It’s safe to say that Paul was at the radical end of the equal opportunities campaign. His unswerving commitment to equality was always expressed with passion and, if people appeared homophobic or transphobic, he made no concessions to their sensibilities.

“He was a life-long trade unionist and a member of the National Union of Teachers.”

His later work with Schools OUT worked towards tackling all forms of oppression in schools.

In 2004, Paul co-founded and helped set up LGBT History Month.

“As Co-Chair of the Month, he was tireless in his work to inspire others to celebrate, record and make our history, travelling the country and all the broadcast media studios he could find to bring the message of the importance of our visibility; especially to young people exploring their sexuality in an unsupportive environment.

“It’s a sign of Paul’s commitment that up till the last moment he was still thinking of ideas to move the campaign forward.

“We have lost a great and irreplaceable campaigner.”

Mr Patrick’s funeral will take place in Burnley on 4 June and a memorial service at the Drill Hall in London is planned.