TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-loved Catterick nightclub manager and LGBT pioneer who died of Covid-19 at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

David Parker, 56, was the manager of Club Louis in Catterick Garrison and has been hailed as a ‘phenomenal’ supporter of the LGBT community - bringing the very first LGBT night to the garrison town and providing a platform to performers from the gay community.

Throughout the Covid pandemic, Mr Parker was open on facebook about his cynicism of the Covid vaccine and of the severity of the virus, even posting a list of reasons last month as to why he would not be getting vaccinated.

He sadly died in hospital from the Covid-19 virus on Monday.

In a tribute to Mr Parker, Club Louis representatives posted on facebook: "It is with enormous regret that we have to announce the passing of our manager, David Parker.

The Northern Echo:

David Parker was open on facebook about his mistrust of the Covid vaccine

"He was being treated for the effects of Covid in Darlington Memorial Hospital, but lost his struggle this afternoon (Monday).

"On behalf of the whole Louis Family, we offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends, he will be sorely missed.

"A pragmatic man, David would want the show to go on, so we remain open with the family’s agreement, further information will be announced in due course."

County Durham drag queen Tess Tickle is a long-time friend of Mr Parker and was handed one of his earliest gigs at Club Louis more than a decade ago.

She said that what Mr Parker did for the LGBT community in and around Catterick was ‘phenomenal’.

Tess said: "About 12-years-ago he set up the very first LGBT night at Catterick camp.

"A lot of people said it wouldn't work and a lot of people said it was risky.

"But he had faith in it and it worked really well.

"It helped so many people, especially people in the Army who were struggling with their sexuality who had somewhere to go, somewhere they could bring their family and friends.

"It was so successful it went from a monthly night to a weekly night."

Tess said that as the club became more and more inclusive - employing members of the LGBT community and giving a platform to performers - the need for a specific night lessened over the years and it reverted back to a monthly event before the pandemic.

He said: "Catterick became very inclusive and diverse, so it didn't really need a specific night anymore because everyone from the LGBT community was welcome whatever the night.”

The Northern Echo:

Club Louis in Catterick Garrison Picture: Google

In the months before his death from Covid-19, Mr Parker had posted various comments and graphics on his facebook page showing his cynicism of the vaccine and hinting that the pandemic was a conspiracy.

In early July he posted a graphic listing several reasons why he would not get the Covid vaccination, these included questioning the long-term effects of the vaccine and whether it had undergone sufficient safety trials and tests.

A Daily Mail article published today described Mr Parker as an anti-vaxxer, but Tess said it was ‘sickening’ if the paper was sensationalising his tragic death to push their pro-vaccination message.

She added: “It is unfortunate circumstances that somebody passed away due to a personal choice that they thought it (the vaccine) was in the experimental stage.”

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