Somerset man joins NSPCC anti-bullying campaign

A man bullied throughout his childhood because of a medical condition has joined a national anti-bullying campaign.

Ashley Carter, 23, from Somerset, has Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic condition which affects facial development.

Mr Carter is working with the NSPCC on a campaign to mark Anti-Bullying Week.

He said: "I'm starting to go in the right direction, where I want to go, and that is how it's going to be now."

When Mr Carter was in primary school, he said he was frequently targeted and bullied by two other students.

'Kicked in the playground'

He said primary school was the "toughest" experience of his childhood.

"I would get called names - ugly, troll, alien. I would get pinned up against the walls, kicked in corridors, kicked in the playground.

"It knocked my confidence for six and I didn't want to go out. I wanted to be at home in my safe place," he said.

The bullying continued into secondary school, and Mr Carter's fears of speaking up grew worse as he worried about the potential consequences.

He said: "I'm quite a private person. I didn't like saying much because I didn't want to cause any big issues, so I just kept it to myself."

'Someone will listen'

However, he said he realised that not opening up about his experiences sooner was having a significant impact on his mental health and wellbeing.

He has worked with the NSPCC for several years and credited the organisation for its "amazing" work.

"They help young people to raise awareness but also get their voice across.

"There is always someone out there to listen to your story and offer advice, whether it's face-to-face or on social media"

He said a similar nationwide campaign would have benefitted him when he was younger.

"Speak up. Talk to teachers, friends, family… you won't realise until you open up how many people are around you," he added.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can contact the BBC Action Line for support and advice.

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