George Ward named as LGBT history hero

12 December 2023
George Ward Tyler Hatwell

George Ward, who performed as the Drag Queen Cherry Valentine, has been posthumously named as one of the five Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans history champions, whose achievements will be promoted and celebrated during LGBT History Month in February 2024.

The announcement by the History Month organisers School’s Out, came on the 30th November – a date which would have been George’s 30th birthday.

George, a Romany Gypsy, appeared on television on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and later featured in a BBC documentary Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud. During the filming of the documentary, George visited one of the regular Traveller Pride meet-ups for LGBT+ Travellers and became friends with the Traveller Pride founder, Tyler Hatwell. George died by suicide in 2022.

"We've long been supporters of Schools Out and LGBT+ History month here at Traveller Pride,” Tyler Hatwell told the Travellers’ Times.

The theme for LGBT History Month 2024 is medicine, said School’s Out, adding that George qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015, eventually working in a children’s psychiatric intensive-care unit and also working with adults with Huntington’s Disease. George also volunteered for the NHS during the Covid pandemic.

“I love that there's an annual space for students to learn about LGBT people through history and to realise we're in all walks of life and throughout all periods of history; but in particular finding out that this year they'll be highlighting George and that his story will be shared throughout the country,” added Tyler Hatwell.

“Any school taking part in LGBT+ History Month in February will hear about him,” he said.

“What an incredible legacy that keeps on giving. I am still so proud of him."

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or by emailing or

Traveller Pride can be contacted through their new national helpline. Details below.

Traveller Pride

Mike Doherty/TT News

(Photograph: Tyler Hatwell (left) with George Ward at a Traveller Pride meet-up © Tyler Hatwell)