Working on behalf of the Community

Raising Support and Awareness for Men’s Mental Health

‘Good Old Days’ evening raises £700 for charity, with Mayor performing as Danny La Rue (onthewight.com)

Ryde Mayor Cllr. Michael Lilley and Monkton Arts Fundraising extravaganza
Raising money for Men Only IOW – A Men’s Mental Health Initiative.

Cllr Lilley transformed into Danny La Rue


On the evening of Monday the 5th of December, the Monkton Arts Lounge was turned into a
packed music hall for a one-night-only ‘Good Old Days’ evening to raise funds for Ryde’s third
sector group, Men Only IOW.


The packed house was entertained with fabulous renditions of ‘Down at the Old Bull and Bush’
and a whole line up of incredible acts, including a special guest appearance by Soprano Jackie
Maw. Mr Jim Thorn was delivering musical accompaniment. The evening was hosted by Jon Thorne, whose elaborate, sesquipedalian introductions of the performers were reminiscent of the late, great Leonard Sachs. The last act was Ryde’s mayor, Cllr Michael Lilley’s transformation into the legendary female impersonator, Danny La Rue! Michael pledged to perform the late Mr La Rue’s hits, ‘On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep and ‘I Am What I Am if £500 was raised before he went on stage. Once again, the generosity and kindness of Ryde’s community ensured this was met and exceeded.

Cllr Lilley said;
“I have supported Men Only from the beginning as men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women and four times less likely to talk about it. Male suicides are the highest number of suicides in the UK and on the Isle of Wight, with Ryde being the highest(as the most populated Town on the Island) area of suicides and suicide attempts. I have not put on a dress before, well at least not in public, and only doing this to raise awareness as IW Council champion for mental health and as Mayor of Ryde. Please support me and donate. I thank Men Only for the work they do. So, my costume, wig, shoes, corset, and make-up are booked; I have rehearsed my songs “I am what I am”
and “Mother Kelly’s doorstep”, learnt a few gags, and although very nervous, I am ready to go and shake a
leg! Although, I will not go on off if the minimum of £500 is not raised!”

Needless to say, the £500 target was exceeded, with a grand total of £703.42 raised.

Receiving the cheque from Monkton Arts and giving it to Karl Hart of Men Only IOW

The money is being used in part to fund and support Men Only’s drop in facility based in the
Ryde Depository and will be used to ensure they can keep the building warm, especially for
their Christmas Day Drop in. Men Only is a peer-led initiative to support men and raise awareness of men’s mental health issues, and they are based in Ryde.

Men only have a mission to support men, whether they need some advice or just the space to talk. We
intend to create a peer group to help men prevent mental health problems proactively rather than
reactively and having a safe space for men to talk openly, seek advice or offer support is essential to the
community of Ryde. Men Only would like to give thanks to Dawn and Jenna at Monkton Arts for working exceptionally hard to organise and host the evening. All the acts that gave terrific performances enthralled the whole house and, of course, Cllr. Michael Lilley, pictured here with Dawn Fidler and Jenna Sabine from Monkton Arts, Ryde, presenting the
cheque for £703.42 to Karl Hart from Men Only IOW.

If you have any questions or require more information on how you can help, please write to
Karl Hart – karl@menonlyiow.co.uk
The website is https://menonlyiow.co.uk
Message via WhatsApp on 077597 296 649
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/menonlyiow

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