Photo: Nathan Wyburn

Golden Cross event raises nearly £3,500 for Ukraine refugees 

‘You just feel like you need to do something,’ said bar manager Evan Perkins

CARDIFF bar The Golden Cross raised £3,450 for Ukrainian refugees at a fund-raiser held on Sunday.

The money will go to Outright Action International, a charity helping LGBT+ refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Rob Keetch, who performed as Dr Bev on the night, said: “It’s important that Cardiff’s LGBT+ community helps other communities. If we don’t support people elsewhere, why would they help us if we need it in the future?”

More than two million people have now fled Ukraine to nearby countries. 

The Golden Cross is based on Customhouse Street near Cardiff city centre. Photo: Ed Barnes

The event at the Customhouse Street venue was organised in four days and hosted by drag queen Amber Dextrous on Sunday, March 6. More than 100 people were said to have attended.

Many of the donations were made by Cardiff residents and businesses including bar Mary’s, The Queer Emporium, and the Cardiff Theatre Cafe, which opened the same day.

The cafe donated £200 while Mary’s donated £400 raised at a bingo session.

Nathan Wyburn, who helped found the Theatre Cafe with Wayne Courtney, said: “Our launch was that afternoon but we knew any profit we made would go straight into the pot.”

Nathan Wyburn and Wayne Courtney performing on the night. Photo: Nathan Wyburn.

Evan Perkins, bar manager at The Golden Cross, said it took over an hour to do the raffle because of the number of prizes. They included a Friends-themed biscuit barrel, a light-up unicorn, Easter eggs and theatre tickets and took four tables to display.

“We weren’t expecting this kind of response in such a short time. We planned 20 minutes but I knew we were going to need more time. The generosity was overwhelming,” he said.

A large number of prizes were donated from spa days to champagne and chocolate. Photo: Evan Perkins, The Golden Cross

The money will help lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Ukrainians settle outside the country. “What we wouldn’t want is someone fleeing Ukraine to end up somewhere they are not safe,” said Mr Keetch.

Stephen Doughty MP and Welsh Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn also showed up to support.

“Everyone said yes, even businesses who struggled during the pandemic. Bar staff bought raffle tickets, no one was paid a fee or donated it. It was so heartwarming, Someone even donated £100 on their credit card,” said Mr Keetch.

The Golden Cross has a history of charity fundraising. In February 2020, they raised £4,000 for those affected by flooding in the Rhondda.

“You just feel like you need to do something, especially when Cardiff is so progressive compared to Russia and Chechnya. It shows Cardiff’s LGBT+ community can and will come together to support a cause,” said Mr Perkins.

To donate to Outright Action International, click here.