A Carlisle man who is living with brain damage decided he would bring the city together for a charity event to raise awareness on the need to promote mental wellbeing and support for the LGBT community.

Jonathan Elliot from Harraby in Carlisle organised the charity event, which featured popular drag act Ffonda Cox, at the Crown and Mitre Hotel in Carlisle.

The money raised through the event, which also included a raffle, went to Mind charity and Cumbria Pride.

“Through lockdown, I lost friends and people who were close [to me] to suicide. I thought something like this would be a good way to raise money for Mind Charity,” said Jonathan, 42.

“I met Ffonda Cox through a pride event and when I had my 40th birthday party, he came and co-hosted it and did a live performance for me.

“He did online shows for people who were isolated, like myself.

“I did find it challenging being on my own and it wasn’t always great, but like I said - Ffonda brought the community together by doing these shows online.”

Jonathan said it was difficult growing up being gay in Carlisle and said it was important to support groups like Cumbria Pride.

He added: “I knew from a young age, but it wasn’t until later in life that I came out. I did get bullied by people for being gay, and this is why I think it’s important to promote equality and diversity and help other people.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done.

“It annoys me when people say Pride is only a party one day of the year. It’s not.

“It’s something that is happening all the time. Pride isn’t about the party, it’s about including everybody and everyone from the LGBT community.”

Just under £2,000 was raised by the event.

The Mayor of Carlisle, Pam Birks, attended the fundraiser to show her support.

She said: "[The event] was really well attended and it was something different for Carlisle.

"It was good to see all the different age groups there.

"Cumbria Pride is an integral part of our community, working to support those going through difficult times, celebrating each other’s successes and ensuring that as part of a diverse society that your voice is heard, your needs are addressed and your rights respected.

"As a Mayors charity MIND is very close to my heart. MIND Carlisle and Eden just got on with it through COVID."