The organisers of a mental health group which was brought to a County Durham town after the tragic deaths of two young men have said they are "over the moon" with how the first session went.

Thirty-six men attended the Glebe Centre on Monday (April 8) eveing for the first session of Murton's Andy's Man Club - an informal group for men to discuss anything and everything in an effort to boost their mental health.

Murton's group, the second in County Durham, was brought together by friends of Liam McNally and Jonathon Heppell, two 28-year-old East Durham dads who took their own lives within weeks of each other just a few months ago.

Liam left the house on December 22 of last year to take his dog for a walk and concerns were raised after he failed to return home. 

Following a call to the police from concerned mum Julie Richards, Liam’s body was found with his “very loyal” dog still by his side and it was discovered he had taken his own life. 

The Northern Echo: Liam McNally.Liam McNally. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

After their deaths, a friend of the men, Christopher Nutton, called an emergency meeting where it was decided mental health support was needed - and now the first session has been a huge success.

Christopher said: "We had 36 men in attendance, and 22 of those had never been before. There was a vast array of all ages, which was great to see.

"With it being the first session, we were all a little bit nervous but we got off to a cracking start.

"Because there were so many of us we split into two rooms but came together at the end and so many of them benefitted from it. All of them left with a smile on their face."

Christopher is a trained facilitator for the club and previously explained that each week, attendees sat in a circle will be asked questions about their week including how they’re feeling, a positive thing that they can note and are invited to get anything off their chest.

"There were a few lads who said they felt the benefits of the session and said they would definitely be back, and comments on social media from some men said it was the best thing they have ever done," he added.

The Northern Echo: First session of Andy's Man Club Murton.First session of Andy's Man Club Murton. (Image: CHRISTOPHER NUTTON)

"We've had great support from locals in the area and others who have said we're doing a great job."

Now, as Christopher and the team look forward to next week's session, they are also looking towards a positive future and hope the Andy's Man Club will make a huge difference in the town.

He said: "The turnout we had last night instilled the fact that we do need the support around here. Many of the men came and discussed things to do with their mental health.

"We're looking towards the future - we're excited about all of the possibilities this group will create."


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For anyone nervous to head along, Christopher previously urged those interested or sceptical to take that first step and come along to the first session.

He said: "At first it's difficult – walking into a room full of men that you don’t know. The common thing we say is that we were all there at one point and had to come through that door.

"The biggest piece of advice I would say is to take that first step. Come, sit and chat – it’s really informal."