A GROUP of men who dress in women's clothing to raise money claim they have been told their fundraising is potentially offensive by charity bosses.

Members and supporters of Upton Rugby Club have dressed in drag for the Leo Sayer All Dayer, and also held other fundraisers for 18 years, to raise more than £40,000 for St Richard's Hospice.

But the group claim they have been told their latest efforts cannot by promoted by the hospice because it might offend the LGBT community.

June Patel, St Richard's chief executive, said they appreciated the group's fundraising but were 'striving to be mindful of equality, diversity and inclusion."

But Mark Tomlinson, from Upton, called it "PC gone mad" and has lodged a formal complaint with the hospice.

Worcester News:

He said: "St Richard's is a cause that is very close to our hearts.

"We lost Justin Morton from the rugby club at 34 in 2007 and my wife Pip in early 2008 - both were cared for by St Richard's.

"They are a fantastic service and give absolutely outstanding care.

"It's not about publicity or recognition but it's about the ridiculous excuse they gave for not doing it.

"It's just political cobblers. I'm sure we're not the only charitable organisation to come across this bureaucracy.

READ MORE: Hospice says it is "truly sorry" if it got decision wrong on Upton Rugby Club drag fundraiser

“Every year we buy our outfits at their shops - they get them in specially - often paying over £20 a head and then tour the town, visiting pubs and accepting donations for the hospice.

"Suddenly, a photo taken outside their Upton shop has triggered an outright ban.

"What makes it even more ridiculous is we give back the costumes so the shops can sell them on again.”

He said the group were asked for information and a picture from the hospice who were looking to highlight their efforts.

However, he claims they were later told the piece would not be run and the charity would not use the picture in case it offended the LGBT community.


Worcester News:

Mrs Patel told the Worcester News: “We truly appreciate all the fundraising that the Richard Saints and the Leo Sayers have undertaken over many years towards our care.

“We have received a complaint from Mr Tomlinson and are investigating the matter.

“As a caring and compassionate organisation we are always striving to be mindful of equality, diversity and inclusion."

Worcester News:

Mr Tomlinson said the group had been in touch with an LGBT charity to discuss whether it is offensive and have already chosen a different charity to support next year.

As well as Leo Sayer All Dayer, named after the fact the group all have the same star sign, they have held three charity balls and pushed a car around the rugby pitch for 24 hours on three consecutive years.