George Ward: RuPaul’s Drag Race UK dedicates episode to drag queen Cherry Valentine

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RuPaul’s Drag Race UK dedicated its most recent episode to George Ward, the drag performer best known as Cherry Valentine.

Ward, who appeared on the second series of the drag competition series in 2021, died earlier this month aged 28.

A statement from his family was released on Friday 23 Septembe), reading: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”

Ward’s death sent shockwaves throughout the drag industry, with the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK sharing their memories of the performer on the show and beyond.

Thursday (29 September) night’s episode of Drag Race UK, which is currently on its fourth series, featured a tribute to Ward.

A photo was shown of Ward in drag as Cherry while filming the BBC Three documentary Gypsy Queen and Proud, alongside the words: “In memory of Cherry Valentine, George Ward, 1993-2022.”

The show’s official Twitter account posted: “Tonight’s #DragRaceUK episode is dedicated to our sister Cherry Valentine.”

Tribute to Ward played after the credits (BBC)
Tribute to Ward played after the credits (BBC)

Ward was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community, and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015 before starting his career in drag.

Upon entering the Werk Room, Ward explained that he had three jobs, as he did botox and worked as a mental health nurse alongside drag.

When filming was halted due to the pandemic, Ward returned to the NHS as a frontline vaccination nurse.