A FORMER landlord whose pub was torched by his own partner is drawing on the experience to set up a support group for gay people in Flintshire.

Andrew Rudd, 36, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered when he appeared at Mold Crown Court last month.

Rudd, of Highmoor, Wigton in Cumbria, was charged with damaging by fire part of the Lifeboat Inn at Sandycroft on July 19 last year.

Nathan Griffiths, his partner at the time and pub manager, said the attack left his life “in tatters.” He is starting Rainbow, a support group for gay people in the county who are suffering abuse.

The 34-year-old said: “I suddenly felt that my life was going to get brighter. And that’s where the name Rainbow comes from.

“Rainbow will be a same-sex support group for people in abusive relationships, or for people suffering homophobic abuse.

“It’s for people just coming out of the closet and who don’t know where to turn, or for young adults at school who are confused about their sexuality.

“There will be a drop-in session twice a month where like-minded people can meet new friends and share experiences.

“Social events will also be organised throughout the year.”

Nathan is applying for funding and hopes the group will be up and running by March.

“After Flintshire, I would like to take the group to other counties,” he said. “In five years’ time, I want it to be nationwide.”

Nathan, who has qualifications in counselling and social care, said support from friends is vital in a crisis.

“People shouldn’t have to suffer in silence,” he said. “I have only managed to get through the arson attack with the support of friends and family.

“Homophobic attacks are on the increase and I don’t want people to feel isolated.”
Nathan added: “Something good has finally come out of all this mess.”

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to Rainbow, call Nathan on 07596034083 or email nathan.griffiths 1975@live.co.uk.

The Lifeboat pub is now under new management. Bingo sessions will be held on Sunday nights, free pool on Wednesday nights and a disco on Saturday nights.