A men's mental health charity has celebrated its one-year anniversary in Bury, reminding men that "it's OK to talk".  

Andy’s Man Club opened its Bury branch in March last year and has been growing ever since with around 60 men coming to talk each week.  

Luke Tetlow-Cross, lead facilitator at the club, said that this year, they want to get even more men to come in and know that "it's OK not to be OK".  

As part of its anniversary message, a member of the group anonymously shared his story, from realising he needed help to his first steps into the Bury club.  

Bury Times: Andy's Man Club facilitator Luke Tetlow-Cross Andy's Man Club facilitator Luke Tetlow-Cross (Image: Public)

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He said: “I came to Andy's Man Club in November.

"I was at my all-time low and needed some help. 

“I had just broken down and cried like I hadn’t cried for years.

"The tears wouldn’t stop. I was on my way in my truck to a job and stopped at the lights waiting to turn and join the motorway.  

“I just started to cry, things had been getting on top of me for a while, and I’d been taking it out at home, shouting at the kids and the Mrs when they’d done nothing wrong.

"My Mrs asked if I was ok and I would answer, fine, and carry on bottling everything up.  

“When I sat at the light and started to cry it came from nowhere, I cried until someone banged on my door and shouted 'are you going or not?'  

“A man stood there and looked at me, still crying and then asked if I was OK, he told me that the lights had changed four times and when I looked in the mirror, I saw a big queue that I had caused.  

Bury Times: Chairs set out at Bury Andy's Man Club Chairs set out at Bury Andy's Man Club (Image: Public)

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“I assured the guy I was OK, and as soon as the lights changed, I pulled around and onto the hard shoulder of the motorway slip road and cried some more.  

“After what seemed like an eternity, I rang my wife and said, you’re right, I’m not coping very well, and I think I need some help.

"At that point, without hesitation, she just said, right, let’s get you some, come home and let’s talk.  

“I told her I couldn’t, as I had work to do and had to carry on with my day, but I assured her I was ok and would call her soon. 

“I carried on with my day feeling a little ashamed that I, a grown man, had just cried and that I needed help.  

“I rang a mate, a man I trust and a man I admire, I told him I was struggling and just generally not coping very well with everyday life. 

“He listened to my cry and pour my heart out and when I’d done he just said, 'listen cockle, we all go through it and I’m here anytime you need, don’t worry what time it is, if you need you call'. 

Bury Times: Andy's Man Club, BuryAndy's Man Club, Bury (Image: Public)

“That meant the world and he made me promise I would do anything stupid.  

“I went home and I spoke to my wife, I told her everything, how I’d been feeling, the works and that’s when she said she knew that I wasn’t right.  

“She had noticed that rather than spend time with her and the kids I’d be going up and watching tv alone in bed, that I hadn’t been me, she said we’ll get through this and let’s get some help.”  

Not feeling comfortable enough to speak to his doctor, his wife spotted an Andy's Man Club advert, saying that the team would be in the shopping centre to talk to anyone interested.  

He said: “When me and my wife got there, my bottle went and as we approached Andy's Man Club stand one of the facilitators approached me and I ran, I wasn’t ready, I feared I’d break again and cry in front of everyone including my kids.  

Bury Times: Andy's Man Club at the Radcliffe Community DayAndy's Man Club at the Radcliffe Community Day (Image: Newsquest)

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“I couldn’t do it, I’m supposed to be the man that protects them, I couldn’t let them see me break.

"All weekend I thought about what to do, and who to see and talk to.  

“I saw that Andys meet on a Monday, I emailed and asked if I could come along and see what I had to do, I got a response it just said they were sorry I was having a hard time and to just turn up.  

“I arrived on Monday and very nearly didn’t get out of the car, I had seen one of the facilitators in the carpark and he clocked me, next thing I knew he was next to me and just asked if it was my first time.  

“As soon as I said yes he said, well let’s go in and get a brew, don’t worry I’ll come with you.  

“And just like that, we did.  

Bury Times: Andy's Man Club groups in Bury and Rochdale played against each other in a bid to raise money and awareness Andy's Man Club groups in Bury and Rochdale played against each other in a bid to raise money and awareness (Image: Danny Crompton)

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“Once the session started it was a little overwhelming and when it was my turn to talk I cried again, I wasn’t judged and the support was amazing.

"I composed myself and spoke about how I felt, what had been happening and people there related to what I was saying, some offered some words of encouragement and bits of advice that had worked for them.  

“I left feeling so much better having spoken out and had people listen and not judge me really helped.  

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“I went home and my wife asked how it went, I responded with good and I’m going back next week.  

“I can’t thank everybody at Andy's for what they have done and the support they give, I am in a whole different place and people say they see a different me from when I first went.  

Bury Times: Gareth Bevan, president of Bury Sports Club with Luke Tetlow-Cross, an Andy Man Club volunteer when the club launched last year Gareth Bevan, president of Bury Sports Club with Luke Tetlow-Cross, an Andy Man Club volunteer when the club launched last year (Image: Archive)

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“I would recommend to any men that need a little support, somewhere to vent, someone to listen.  

“Come down to brews are good the banter is good and it really helps, it’s good to talk! 

Mr Tetlow-Cross added that the group has become like a "brotherhood" with no judgement.  

He said: “It's crazy when we first opened I thought maybe five people would come but 25 showed up.  

“Now we get around 50 to 60 people coming in a week with the record being 64.  

“This year, I want to beat that record so if you know anyone struggling or having a bad day, week or month, encourage them to come down. 

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“We're great guys and have come to be like brothers.

"No-one here is judgemental and no-one needs to talk if they don’t want to, just sit down and see how it works.” 

Andy's Man Club meet every Monday from 7pm at Bury Sports Club, however, Luke recommends arriving at 6.30pm to make the most of the tea and biscuits.  

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