Juliet McDonald: Alfie

This moving piece by Juliet McDonald is about Alfie, an inspiring young man, who attended Rotherham Flourish when he was 17. Alfie has just started a modelling career.

I first met Alfie when he started attending the Rotherham Flourish group that is held at Mowbray Library. I got to know Alfie as Rob’s friend, as a young man who enjoyed music, especially Rap, and in particular Stormzy. I found out he has a wicked sense of humour, with a great line in sarcasm!

I learnt that he was a keen Rotherham united fan and an excellent wheel chair football player himself. He talked about looking forward to his 18th birthday so he could go to night clubs and get to meet girls and have a pint!

During the months that we both attended the group I got to know Alfie a little bit more each time. What I didn’t know was that Alfie suffered from moments of extreme anxiety. I didn’t know that he sometimes found it very difficult to go out and join in with a group of people he didn’t know very well. I didn’t know it was a challenge for him to be with a group of people of all ages, from all walks of life, from different countries, different languages, different backgrounds.

I didn’t know until recently that Alfie had suffered the most appalling bullying at the hands of other young people.

What I do know about Alfie is that he has shown great courage and determination to pursue the career he has set his heart on. He is a handsome young man with a love of fashion and a flair for style. He has not let his past experience of being bullied stop him from exploring new adventures. He has not let the fact that he has to use a wheel chair, deter him from pursuing his goal to become a model.

With the support of a wonderful family and friends, Alfie will, I know, go on to flourish in a business that is very challenging.

We wish you every success Alfie and are looking forward to following your career on social media. You are an inspiration to us all and as you once said:

‘I think it helps people when they hear my story and when I listen to their stories and that’s it.’

Photo by Aaron Cheeseman

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