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A south Cumbrian politician is urging people to be kinder online, after abuse he received when he was trying to come to terms with being sexually abused as a child led him to plan taking his own life.Copyright: Family photograph
Ben Shirley from Askam in Furness is a Conservative borough and county councillor, and acted as agent for Simon Fell who took the parliamentary seat of Barrow and Furness in the General Election.
He says he owes his life to his wife and close friends, and to the counselling he has received from the south Cumbrian charity, the Birchall Trust, whose staff he says are an amazing group of people.
Councillor Shirley first revealed the historic sexual abuse, and his later suicidal thoughts, during a virtual meeting of Barrow council where he backed a new campaign against online abuse.Quote Message: In my speech to council I made a reference to the late Caroline Flack, the torrent of social media abuse that she received was hideous and the consequences were drastic and tragic.Quote Message: That nearly happened to me, it happens to people up and down the country and it needs to stop." from Councillor Ben Shirley
- Caroline Flack, a TV presenter, died earlier this year.
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