A man in Essex who dresses up in a rubber 'gimp' fetish suit and walks the streets of Colchester in Essex to raise money for charity, hopes his effort will start a debate about stereotypes, he has told the BBC.

'The Gimp Man of Essex' gives £1 to mental health charity Colchester Mind every time someone posts a photo with him to his Facebook page, which has more than 2,000 likes.

So far he has raised £375 ($610, £476) for the charity, but his experiences with the general public have not always been pleasant.

The Gimp Man
Gimp Man says he keeps his identity secret because his wife and children don\'t know about his alter ego. Facebook

Do-gooder or 'pervert'?

He said most people he meets are friendly, but others make accusations that he is a "paedophile or a pervert".

The suit he wears is made from PVC and rubber, and is commonly used in bondage, discipline, dominations, submission, sadism and masochism (BDSM) sexual activities.

"When I first started going out in my suit, someone suggested I could make a charity thing out of it," he said. "I could go round and do some good.

"People call me a legend, but I only donate a few hundred quid and walk round looking a fool."

Gimp Man has kept his real identity a secret, as he says his wife and children are unaware of his alter ego. He told a BBC reporter that he does not venture out in his controversial outfit during school holidays or on weekends.

"Most people are very welcoming when I tell them what it's all about," he said. "I don't go round scaring the life out of people."

Some Facebook users have questioned the man's motives and authenticity, but Gimp Man, who started his campaign in June 2013, insists there is "no ulterior motive".

He says he wants to spark a debate among the members of public he meets, by challenging their assumptions that he is "into some horrible things".

"I'm old enough to realise people look at the negatives in everything", he says.