A former rock band front man, turned transvestite performer, is relying on help from friends both famous and less so after his home was devastated by a fire.

Rock fans might recognise Nicky Watkinson, 57, as the lead singer of The Jags - who burst onto the music scene with hit Back of my Hand in 1979 and counted Cliff Richard as a fan.

These days the father-of-three earns a living as a gardener and performing as a transvestite - but a fire in his flat on Dorset Road, Mitcham, on June 7 has turned his life completely upside down.

Mr Watkinson said: "It’s an absolute tragedy - every morning when I wake up, my heart is racing and I feel sick.

"Everything I had is ruined. I’m not a rich man but I lived frugally and I could manage - but this has thrown me into turmoil.

"For the first week, I lived in this blackened place. I slept near the window - but it’s covered in black soot everywhere. A friend of mine is now putting me up in his place in Battersea."

Your Local Guardian: green WIMB: Rock transvestite in house fire plea

Rock Transvestite, Nicky Watkinson, pleas for help after a devastating fire

He added: "I perform as a singer on the tranny circuit but all my clothes are smoke-damaged. Being a tranny, I love shoes - it’s heartbreaking to pick up stuff and know there is no point in keeping anything, it’s all got to be thrown out."

The London Fire Service ruled the fire an accident caused by candles, which Mr Watkinson said originated in a room rented by a lodger.

He added: "Stupidly, I didn’t have any insurance. I am in a very difficult position. It’s still possible that I could lose my home completely because my mum and dad can’t come up with what’s needed."

He praised his neighbours and friends -who have rallied around him in support - including singer Orlando Weeks of The Maccabees.

He said: "They played the Isle of Wight festival then he came over, put on the dungarees and we cleaned half the kitchen together.

"The neighbours have been incredibly helpful. The word is starting to spread and people are rallying around."

Your Local Guardian: green WIMB: Rock transvestite in house fire plea

Mr Watkinson: 'I will write to J.K. Rowling'

Now his plan includes writing to charitable celebrities with pleas for help.

"I am going to write to J.K. Rowling and the Bill Gates foundation and anyone else I can think of - to please help me. I’m not ashamed to admit it’s a begging letter.

"People know me as a good decent person - I’m a well respected member of the community.

"I need all the help in the world from everyone."