‘An exceptional artist and friend’: Drag Race queens lead tributes to Cherry Valentine

Cherry Valentine tragically passed away on Sunday

Since their tragic death was announced this morning, tributes have been flooding in for Cherry Valentine. Queens from the drag world have been leading tributes for their iconic sister sharing their memories and kind words about Cherry and their art.

Cherry’s family released a statement this morning sharing Cherry Valentine, aka George Ward, sadly passed away on Sunday. Their statement said: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.”

Cherry Valentine appeared on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and then went on to be the face of the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen and Proud. Cherry was also qualified as a mental health nurse and returned to the NHS to help with vaccinating people during the pandemic.

Tributes have been paid from across all over the world, Cherry also worked as a mental health nurse since qualifying in 2015. World of Wonder, the company behind Drag Race said: “We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of George Ward, AKA Cherry Valentine. As an artist, nurse and an activist Cherry will always remain a beloved member of our Drag Race family. Cherry’s love and irresistibly infectious laugh touched the lives of so many. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.”

Bimini who was on season two of Drag Race UK, shared a photo of themself, Cherry and Tayce onto their Instagram story. They captioned it with: “I can’t find the right words. I’m not sure they exist. You saw what others didn’t and showed nothing but kindness, patience and grace. A pure soul. I’ll cherish our memories and the things you taught me. You will continue to inspire me forever.

via @biminibabes on Instagram

Cheryl Hole, who appeared on season one of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, shared a photo of Cherry onto her Instagram and Twitter with the caption: “I never thought I’d have to write something like this about such a talented and beautiful person that was Cherry. We have lost an incredible queen and I’m honestly devastated. RIP Cherry Valentine, I love you.”

Ginny Lemon from season two of Drag Race UK tweeted: “Just woke up, just found out. I’m devastated and can’t stop crying.”

Traveller Pride tweeted a photo with George and said: “Incredibly sad. We will release a full statement in the next few days. George’s buoyant and genuine love and care were so nourishing and we’re beyond grateful to have called him a friend.”

Joe Black from season two has shared tributes about Cherry Valentine following the news of their death. Joe posted photos with Cherry and said how they will cherish the times they shared together. Joe’s statement said: “I’m in shock and not quite sure how to process the news. RIP Cherry. I will cherish the times we had together. An exceptional artist and friend. My love goes out to their friends and family and everyone who knew them.”

Awhora from season two posted a statement onto her Instagram story. It said: “I cannot even begin to process today’s news, I honestly have never been so heartbroken and in a state of shock so much. I’ve lost not only a sister but someone, who for the last seven months had become my best friend, who I would call and text about everything and anything. We had so much planned and you had so much greatness ahead, and I know your legacy and talent will forever live on. I love you beyond words will ever understand! I will never stop being inspired by you and will continue to fight for your voice to be heard.”

A book of condolence and a fundraiser have been set up. You can find both links to these events as well as more information about a vigil here.

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