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Octopus is a gay social group based around East London and the Essex borders. Regular activities include weekly social events, occasional parties, theme nights and barbecues, always held in the homes of members. There are also occasional days out.[1]

The group was founded in 1978 in Braintree[2] (or alternatively in Chelmsford)[3] to cater for the needs of gay people. According to Out of the Shadows, Octopus got its name because it was "sending out its tentacles" into remote parts of Essex and also East London.[3] Due to local demand, the current Octopus (the East London and Essex Borders Group) was established as a separate and independent group in April 1982.[2]

In October 2015 it was announced that the group would cease in its current form by the end of the year, and be replaced by a more informal social group.


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  1. http://www.octopusgroup.org.uk/index.html. Octopus website home page. Accessed: 2015-11-04. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6cnQEAoeq)
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.octopusgroup.org.uk/OctopusHistory.html. Octopus website history page. Accessed: 2015-11-04. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6cnQ2NhWD)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tony Walton, Out of the Shadows page 93.