Mr Gay UK 2001 - Grand Final Manchester

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Heats for the competition took place in 15 cities throughout Britain over the months of April and May 2001. The winners of each heat then have the opportunity to get out into the gay community and show what they had to offer and why they should be crowed the new Mr Gay UK of 2001.

This year the competition was run in a slightly different way to previous years. The winner was voted by phone. In the three months leading up to the final, many of the boys showed up at different gay events around the country handing out booklets with photos and info about themselves, along with a phone number to which you could ring up and vote for them.

The grand final was held on the main stage of Manchester's Gayfest weekend, Saturday 25th August 2001. 

Manchester's very own Carl Austin became the new Mr Gay UK when the results of the vote poll were announced on stage at the city's spectacular August Bank Holiday Weekend - Gayfest.

Twenty-nine year-old Carl, single and the MD of his own Promotions Company, was announced the winner with over 23% of the vote by Mr Gay UK organizer Terry George. As he was named Mr Gay UK 2001 the huge crowd that had congregated in front of the main stage erupted in whistles, cheering and applause much to his delight. Runner-up was Shaun Manchip from Plymouth and third was David Cody from Newcastle.

Carl, who was runner-up in last year's competition, looked stunning in just a pair of white briefs and was obviously ecstatic at winning but admitted he was very nervous about being on home territory and failing. Luckily he needn't have worried, support from his family was matched by support from Essential (the club where he won his heat), Mark One and literally thousands who decided to dial the phone lines to register their vote.

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A Story to Tell

Carl served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces for over six years in a series of postings as diverse as Devon and Belize in Central America, before being kicked out of the Air Force after admitting his homosexuality. He says; "I was called into my Commander's office one morning and asked if I was gay. I admitted it and was out on the streets later that afternoon." This was despite Carl winning The British Humane Society Bronze Award for Bravery and receiving a number of commendations from his Commanding Officer. "I'm not bitter," Carl continued, "as I joined the service knowing I was gay but I thought, from all the work I'd done while in the Force, that I'd proved myself more than capable and that my sexuality shouldn't matter. They said my choice of lifestyle was not 'compatible' with the Air Force."

However, now Carl is looking forward to his new career as Mr Gay UK and hopes to carry the title even further. He knows that his face is going to appear all over the place but wants people to know that there is a voice that goes with it. and he aims to use it wherever possible in a positive and affirming way for gay causes. "I've already had a little taste of co-presenting at Gay Fest and I loved it," enthused Carl. "I can't wait to do more. for myself and for the community I am proud to be part of."