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Former charity boss to appear at Edinburgh Festival as drag queen


Nancy Clench is scheduled to appear at The Pleasance in August

Nathan Sparling, the former CEO of HIV Scotland, is attempting a comeback as a drag queen following a trial held under the Sexual Offences Act.

In April the former SNP campaign manager and charity boss was found not proven of taking photos of a half-naked friend who was asleep at his flat.

The judge described Sparling’s actions as “clearly reprehensible” during a high-profile trial.

Sparling’s alter ego Nancy Clench has scheduled a series of shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival on which she bills herself “Scotland's biggest and best drag queen”. 

Promotional material posted online pitch the show, taking place from 4-28 August at The Charteris Centre, as “a tale of medical woes”.

In the festival's official pitch, it says: "She’s back, the 6'5" towering Scottish drag legend Nancy Clench, returns to the Edinburgh Fringe. Expect tales from the pandemic, including her recent sabbatical working as a receptionist at her local doctor’s surgery.

"She's putting the agony in agony aunt, with her own medical woes involving gout, and as usual, this diva is ready to bestow some wisdom on to you to solve your problems."

Clench also does online performances as a self-styled agony aunt in which she asks viewers to donate to a PayPal account.

During Sparling’s trial, Sheriff Cook concluded Sparling took the photos. He said, however, that the Crown had not supplied enough evidence to convict him of breaching the terms of the Sexual Offences Act.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, told the trial he met up with Sparling at an Edinburgh bar on 30 September, 2019.

Sparling said the man fell asleep in his flat and he had “no recollection of taking any photos” when the pair returned to his home.

Sparling said: “If I had taken any photos it would have been as a joke.

“But the only thing I did was put a blanket over him so he was warm while he slept.”

Sparling was chief executive of HIV Scotland between December 2018 to December 2020 and then was employed by a PR company.

He also co-hosted an online political and current affairs podcast called A New Nation.



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