Transgender pioneer April Ashley remembered at special event in her home city of Liverpool

There are several television and film companies working on productions about April Ashley’s life.

A special commemoration service has taken place in Liverpool to remember and celebrate inspirational transgender pioneer April Ashley.

The event at St George's Hall included some of Ashley’s closest friends and family who paid tribute to the extraordinary life of the model and actress, who died aged 86 last December.

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She was buried alongside her father and grandparents in Litherland.

Ashley was one of the first people in the world to undergo male-to-female gender reassignment surgery in 1960.

She met many twentieth century icons, including Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and performed for others such as Elvis Presley, Salvador Dali and Bob Hope at the world famous Le Carrousel club.

Photographed by David Bailey, she was regarded as Vogue’s top underwear model in the 1960s.

‘A lot of people see her as a trans-pioneer, as a trans-icon’

Janet Dugdale, Director of National Museums Liverpool.

Janet Dugdale, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: "We were really honoured to work with her and Homotopia at the Museum of Liverpool to create an exhibition which was called April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady, which opened in 2013.

“It told her extraordinary story but actually from a very personal perspective, which I think was incredibly brave of her to do.

“A lot of people see her as a trans-pioneer, as a trans-icon. She was very clever, very bright. She really thought through the impact that she could have, and she worked with people quietly, often in the background, around their identity.

“We know that more than one and a half million people came to that exhibition which was quite incredible for us. It really helped us with our programme and our inclusive work moving forward."

‘She talked about being beautiful, and she meant it: inside and out’

Kate O’Donnell, artistic director, TransCreative.

Kate O'Donnell, Artistic Director at TransCreative, who had previously interviewed April, said: "When we did this interview together she talked about being beautiful, and she meant it inside and out.

“She knew she was really blessed. I mean, she was a Vogue model.

“She was striking looking right to the end and I think she knew that and she used all her charms at a time when no one was out."