Britain’s first openly gay rabbi, Rabbi Lionel Blue has died.

Rabbi Lionel Blue, Britain’s first openly gay rabbi, has died at the age of 86. The rabbi was a regular speaker on the BBC’s Thought For The Day on Radio 4. He came out as gay officially in 1981 in a book he wrote called Godly And Gay. He had been open about his sexuality since the 1960s.

According to the BBC, the Mr Blue was ordained in 1960 after reading History and Semitics at University. He was made an OBE for his “services to broadcasting”.

He was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was aged 57, he was also diagnosed as having Parkinson’s Disease.

His death was announced via his Facebook page,

A statement from a representative from the liberal London synagogue, Beit Klal Yisrael, wrote,

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“Lionel was a wonderful and inspirational man, who spoke with such wisdom and humour and whose words reached out far beyond the Jewish community.

“He was a friend and mentor to many and his courage in coming out as gay in the 1970s paved the way for many other Jews, including many Rabbis.

“We will not see his like again. May his memory be for a blessing.”