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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > June 2017 > JONNY BENJAMIN and NEIL LAYBOURN

JONNY BENJAMIN and NEIL LAYBOURN

It’s been a hell of a few years, huh? Every time you open a newspaper these days there’s death, destruction and Donald Trump being, well, just awful. There’s little in terms of good news to raise our spirits.

But there’s one story that came to light in 2014, the kind of story we seldom hear these days – one of such human decency and compassion – that even on the darkest of days, it can lift our spirits and shine a light on the fact that there is some selfless good in the world.

It was 14 January, 2008, when Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn met for the first time on Waterloo Bridge. Jonny had developed depression at the age of 16, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder – a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – in his early 20s. He ran away from hospital that day with the intention of taking his own life by jumping off a bridge.

Neil played the role of the good Samaritan during that fateful encounter, successfully talking Jonny to safety with the promise that things would get better – but they were separated when the police intervened and took Jonny away to be sectioned.

Jonny never forgot Neil and the role he’d played in saving his life. Six years later – in January 2014 – Jonny launched a social media campaigned called #FindMike with charity Rethink Mental Illness to try and locate Neil, while also raising awareness of mental health and suicide; a campaign which captured the hearts of hundreds of millions around the world and garnered the support of Stephen Fry, Boy George and the then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

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About Gay Times

Parry Glasspool plays one of the most famous gay characters currently on British TV. He's not just easy on the eye; his role as Harry in Hollyoaks has a far-reaching and positive impact on young men around the UK, giving them the strength to come out to their families. We undress Parry for a steamy cover shoot and dive into his career, his future ambitions and what it's like kissing Kieron Richardson over and over and over again. In what is one of the most alarming recent atrocities against the LGBT+ community, we run our own investigation into what exactly is happening on the ground in Chechnya, and what you can do to help. We also speak to a Russian journalist who goes some way in defending Putin. Don't miss this explosive interview. Speaking of which: with a snap general election looming, we hear from the LGBT+ politicians who want our vote. And for our readers around the globe, the results of the elections in the UK affect you, too. Keep a close eye. In 2014, Neil Laybourn stopped Jonny Benjamin from ending his life on Waterloo Bridge. With a growing number of lives being lost to mental health battles, Neil and Jonny ask why we aren't doing more about it. Banarama on their hits, their friendship and their future; the godfathers of synthpop, Erasure, take us on a journey through every album of their illustrious 32-year career; Dua Lipa on her hard-earned and well-deserved success; and an interview with the late, great John Hurt on the eve of the release of the one of the greatest gay films of all time, The Naked Civil Servant. What to do about a friend's reckless sexual behaviour; Lady Bunny sticks her hand it in our sweetie jar of random questions (don't worry, we threw it away straight after); X Factor's Ray Quinn is this month's Gay Times Fitty; Charlie King on how to get buns of steel; cosplay with Chris Jones; 5 myths about HIV superdrug PrEP; Bill Hayes on Oliver Sacks; plus style, travel, culture and more.
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