The incident shook the motorsport community and led to a fundraising campaign for his rehabilitation and recovery that raised more than £800,000.
“You couldn’t say it was a gay bar because the concept didn’t exist.It was full of straight people but towards one end of the room a group of gay men would meet up.” They were cautious and used Polari, [gay slang] “which I didn’t understand at all at first,” he laughs.It comes just 10 days after the determined youngster took part in his first race since the shocking accident.The 18-year-old suffered life-changing injuries when he crashed into the rear of a stationary car, at Donnington Park, on April 16 this year.Billy was stuck in his vehicle for 90 minutes until he could be airlifted to a hospital in Nottingham, but tragically medics could not save his legs.
His mother Amanda said the crash was 'all your nightmares rolled into one' but the hospital staff had helped them through it.
“You’d spend hours trying to find somebody, visiting one set of toilets then another, enduring the cold and damp, spending a lot of time waiting for a fleeting sexual experience that wasn’t particularly satisfying,” he adds.
Luckily, Bernard was eventually introduced to a barman whose place of work served as a meeting place for a small group of gay men.
They’d discuss chat-up etiquette, which included approaching someone and, if they weren’t interested, making it seem like a joke.
“That’s an art that has largely gone now and very often it was the older gay men who mentored the younger ones.
The turn of the 18th century saw the rise of molly houses: taverns, coffee houses and private rooms where gay men could meet.