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North Shields bully victim is helping others in a scheme set up by North Tyneside Council – Article by the Evening Chronicle

26th February 2015

Dragged out of his wheelchair and punched black and blue, Des Baldwin knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a bully.

Now Des is putting his nightmare experiences to good use and is helping others who have become victims of anti-social behaviour.

The 59-year-old is one of 16 volunteers who are offering valuable advice and guidance to others who have been through similar ordeals as them.

And North Tyneside Council is proud to have Des on its team.

“It happened to me in 1995 and in those days there was no support for victims like me. For ten years I suffered. I stayed in the house and lost my confidence,” said grandad Des, of North Shields.

Des was singled out by a thug on his estate who he believes was jealous of his life. Des had been working as a ship’s medic and had a lovely home. But the bully on his estate picked him out and attacked him while Des was recovering from a back injury and was confined to a wheelchair.

“I’m using my experience to help others,” added Des. “I’m there to support them emotionally and mentally through a phone call, a visit to their home or having a coffee with them in a cafe.”

The North Tyneside Victim and Witness Support Group was officially launched yesterday at The Village Hotel on the Cobalt Business Park attended by North Tyneside Mayor, Norma Redfearn, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird and others involved in the project.

The elected mayor said: “We are absolutely committed to protecting people from harm and supporting victims and witnesses – and this new group of people is another way to help.

“The volunteers will be able to truly understand what people affected by anti-social behaviour are going through and I’m delighted to help launch the project.”

The project has been funded through the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund.

The Commissioner Vera Baird said: “Projects supported by my Community Fund support the priorities set out in my police and crime plan which relied on what members of the public told me were the issues they wanted to see the police do more about. This tremendous initiative involves volunteers who know first hand what these victims and witnesses are going through and will be a fantastic support. I know this project will have a tremendous impact in North Tyneside.”

Des added: “I think the man who did this to me all those years ago was a bully and a coward, and he did it when I was vulnerable in a wheelchair. I’ve been there, worn the t-shirt and I’m now helping others.”