Brighton’s LGBTQ+ community pays tribute to Cherry Valentine

BRIGHTON’s LGBTQ+ and Traveler communities have paid tribute to drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine, who has died aged 28.

The actor, whose real name is George Ward, appeared on the second season of the BBC reality TV show before launching a television career and hosting the documentary Gypsy Queen and Proud, in which he discusses his experiences as a gay man and drag emerged queen in the traveler community.

A statement from his family said: “It is with heartbreaking and profound sadness that I have to announce that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way to announce this.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.

“All we ask is your patience and prayers at this time.”

Brighton drag queen Joe Black, who competed alongside Cherry Valentine in Drag Race UK, said he was “shocked” by the tragic news and described George as an “extraordinary artist and person”.

He said: “I will cherish the times we had together. My love goes out to her friends and family and everyone who knew her.”

Pixie Polite, who is currently representing Brighton on the show’s current series, said Cherry is a “true talent” and sent her “heartfelt condolences” to all her family, friends and all her second-season sisters.

George grew up in Darlington as part of the Traveler community and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015 before starting his career in drag.

He served on the front lines of the NHS during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and was featured on the second season of Drag Race UK early last year.

In a documentary released earlier this year, George revisited the Traveler community, which he left at the age of 18, to explore his legacy.

Argus readers have also expressed their sadness at George’s death, with Ben Perkins describing her as “kind, a healthcare hero and an incredible drag queen”.

A spokesman for Brighton-based charity Friends, Families and Travelers described the news as “utterly devastating”, saying: “George was a kind, beautiful and caring soul who touched many lives as a Cherry Valentine but also as a mental health nurse .

“His work and bravery will live on through those he inspired in the LGBTQ+ Traveler communities and beyond.” Brighton’s LGBTQ+ community pays tribute to Cherry Valentine

Fry Electronics Team

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