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Brothers talking openly

GOAL: Rico (left) and Danny Beckford-Dawes

WE ALL know men will spend hours talking about how a football match was won or lost, but when it comes to discussing their emotions there’s a deafening silence.

Talking openly about their relationships, fatherhood, or personal health, is seen as an own goal by most men.

But one man has got his brothers talking frankly and freely about what matters to them in life after holding a men-only event in Lozells, Birmingham – and he’s opened the floodgates.

Rico, a former club DJ and now a passionate Christian, is the brainchild behind Men United FC (For Christ) and he believes he can inspire men to lead more positive lives and turn the tide of anti-social behaviour.

With support from long-time friend Danny Beckford-Dawes and leading figures such as Bishop Dr Bishop Derek Webley, Assistant Bishop Reuben King and Pastor Brian Byfield, about 400 men took part in the recent event held at the New Testament Church of God in Lozells.

“It’s all about building men back up again because some have been crushed on life’s journey,” explains Aston-born Rico, aged 46, a musician and DJ who began life as Sheldon Fogarty.

“Men need to see themselves in a more positive light. Without being sexist, they shape our community, but they need to get back on their feet. How a person thinks determines how they live.

“At our Men United day, many embraced each other and connected – some were in tears,” he added. “ It was emotional, but it’s cleared the way for them to lead more positive lives in the way God intended for them.”

On July 16 Rico is organising a coach party to Blackpool to listen to other Christian campaigners and share ideas. And he’s also been into Birmingham’s Winson Green Prison to talk with inmates about the positive journey he has taken since finding God.

Danny and himself have other ideas to get men connecting such as a movie night
project where a practical debate will follow a related film, and also prayer breakfasts to get men bonding over their cereal.

“I’ve seen too many friends lose their children to gang violence,” he added. “And for too long glamorising the gang lifestyle has been the norm until it has become acceptable – this is so wrong.”

While Danny, aged 52, a DJ with Newstyle Radio, added: “Sometimes it’s a battle to change young people’s mindsets, but if someone thinks differently then he acts differently.”

It’s a far cry from the days when Rico felt that going to church was seriously uncool, but the father-of-three says he became a changed man once he accepted God into his life.

“I just want to help other people see there’s a positive way ahead for us all.”

Tickets and details on the Blackpool trip are available from Maxine on 07941 354 719.

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