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Cherry Valentine's touching reason for becoming a mental health nurse, as star dies at 28

Ru Paul's Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine opened up on the inspirational reasons behind their career as a mental health nurse in a candid Instagram post, telling fans: "I just wanted to help those who needed it."

The performer, real name George Ward, appeared on the second season of the BBC show and died aged 28 on Sunday, his heartbroken family confirmed.

Tributes have poured in for the drag queen from Darlington, who qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015.

During the introductory video in Drag Race, Cherry spoke about having three jobs, saying: "I have three jobs at the moment, drag queen, I do botox, I do fillers and I'm a mental health nurse.

Cherry Valentine, real name George Ward, appeared on season 2 of Drag Race UK and became a fan favourite (BBC)

"I'm literally a one woman band, I could be travelling the world giving queen's botox, putting on a show and then coming afterwards and giving them some therapy."

In a post on Instagram in April this year, the star spoke about mental health, to promote a campaign which raised awareness about the importance of "taking time for ourselves and for our mental health."

The post read: "Mental Health. A phrase that holds so much weight, for every single person on the planet.

George spoke about their work as a mental health nurse in a candid post on Instagram (thecherryvalentine/Instagram)

"It’s been something that I’ve been very aware of for the majority of my life, and it’s something that we should all continue to be aware and raise awareness for.

"I became a Mental Health Nurse in 2015 for a lot of reasons, the main being that I just wanted to help those who needed it.

George went on: "It’s extremely difficult for one person to change a system, and a societal view, but the positive collaborative work between people really does have the power to change the world, raise awareness, shed light, and that is what campaigns like this can continue to do."

Cherry Valentine was known for dramatic looks on Ru Paul's Drag Race (BBC/World of Wonder/Ray Burmiston)

He reflected on learning about his own mental health, saying: "I can talk for hours about the importance of understanding our own Mental Health because it truly is a passion, and one of the biggest things I’ve ever learned about my own, is the importance of grounding, acknowledgment, reflection, and in essence, Taking A Moment."

He then went on to speak about the Take a Moment campaign which was holding an exhibition at Piccadilly Lights in London.

A statement issued by George's family this morning confirmed his death.

Cherry's entrance on season 2 of Drag Race (BBC)

They said: "It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you 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 for this to be announced.

"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."

They added: "All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie. 30 November 1993 - 18 September 2022."