Opinion: ‘It’s good for men to keep talking’

Peterborough’s MP Paul Bristow writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph...

Saturday, 4th December 2021, 2:15 pm
Men talking Photo: Shutterstock

I went to see a super group of Peterborough men who meet at The Copeland Centre every week – Andy’s Man Club, Peterborough.

Andy’s Man Club was established by Luke Ambler following the tragic suicide of his brother-in-law, 23-year-old Andy Roberts. Andy hadn’t given anyone any indication he was suicidal, or even upset in any way. Luke wished that Andy had been able to talk to someone about what had been troubling him. Whatever it was could have been overcome.

Shockingly, suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 – and accounts for 75 per cent of all suicides. The message of Andy’s Man Club is so important - “#ITSOKAYTOTALK”. The opportunity to share without stigma and know there are others in the same situation can make a huge difference.

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The first group met in Halifax in 2016, and has now grown to over 70 groups nationwide with a widespread online supporter network.

Around three-and-a-half years ago some local men organised the first meeting in Peterborough, and the group now meets at The Copeland Centre, South Bretton, every Monday at 7pm.

When you arrive at a meeting you will be shown into the room, offered refreshments, and will take a seat for the meeting.

Anyone who wants to attend can talk about anything – whether it’s money, relationships, trouble at work, feeling lonely or isolated, or a recent loss. No details will be taken at any point and you will remain completely anonymous.

Andy’s Man Club has saved lives in Peterborough and across the country. Every opportunity to have these sorts of conversations is only to be encouraged.

It’s difficult for men to talk – so let’s keep talking about Andy’s Man Club. Let’s make sure the men of Peterborough know that no matter how bad it seems there is somewhere where they can open up about what’s troubling them – before it’s too late.

Out of the tragedy of Andy’s lost life we have an incredibly positive achievement. The men who organise Andy’s Man Club Peterborough group make me proud of Peterborough. Visit andysmanclub.co.uk

They are a great example of some of our Peterborough Heroes.

So I am starting a new effort to identify people in our community who have either achieved something great – have given a lifetime worth of service – or who are very special to our city.

I meet people all of the time who inspire me and make me proud of Peterborough.

On Saturday evening I was at the West Ward Bowls Club for Fergus’ Charity Night. Little Fergus has 3P deletion syndrome, HirchSprungs Disease, epilepsy, and columba of both eyes.

Despite all this, he is a fighter and has the best mum, dad and grandparents any little boy could wish for.

Supporting Fergus were Peter and Diana Jessop, who are Peterborough Heroes.

Peter has worked as a riveter at Peter Brotherhood for 47 years, and his wife Diana is doing brilliant work for the West Ward Bowls Club, which despite covid is in good health.

I want to hear about more Peterborough Heroes from you.

Do let me know by 
visiting my website paulbristow.org.uk/peterborough-heroes if you know someone who deserves to be recognised as a Peterborough Hero.