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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 16:54 GMT
Red nose stunt proves a real drag
David Matthews in drag
David Matthews has already raised 250 for Comic Relief
A Cornish councillor was ordered to leave a local authority meeting when he turned up dressed as a dame in Comic Relief fund-raising stunt.

David Matthews, 45, was not allowed to take part in the Restormel Borough Council meeting because he was in drag.

The Liberal Democrat councillor wore a floral dress and a wig all day on Monday to raise money for the appeal.

Restormel mayor Lesley Clarke said she felt Mr Matthews was "making a mockery" of the council.

'Raising awareness'

After finishing work on Monday Mr Matthews went to the council meeting in St Austell still dressed in women's clothing, but on entering the chamber he was asked to leave by the mayor.

Mr Matthews, who called himself Davina for the day, said: "The reason I dressed up is to raise awareness of poverty and to raise money for Comic Relief.

"It was appalling that I was asked to leave. I was very surprised.
There is a time and a place for everything."
Lesley Clarke, Restormel mayor

"I wasn't there to cause a scene or say, 'Let's be free to wear whatever we want'.

"This is a fun way of raising awareness."

Lesley Clarke said: "I just thought that Councillor Matthews's presence, dressed as he was, in the council chamber was putting the council into disrepute.

"We were going to discuss serious business. I had nothing against his raising funds beforehand. I commend his tenacity, but there is a time and a place for everything."

Mr Matthews said he consulted the council's assistant chief executive three weeks before the meeting and was advised it would not be unconstitutional to wear drag.

He said he had only worn drag twice in his life before, adding: "If I really was a cross-dresser, under the Discrimination Act they couldn't do that."

Mr Matthews, an adult education teacher, was sponsored to dress up by more than half the councillors and has already raised 250.

He and the council's other Liberal Democrat members will discuss on Thursday night whether to take the matter further.

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