ST MIRREN chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick has teamed up with NSPCC Scotland to encourage people to speak out against bullying.

Tony revealed his life was made a misery when he was the target of bullies while at school.

Speaking out to highlight Anti-Bullying Week, he said no child in such situations should ever suffer in silence.

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“I remember being bullied when I was at school and it was a terrible time for me," said Tony. "I was frightened to tell anyone about it but, eventually, I did.

"I spoke to my mum and it was the best thing I ever did. It was a tremendous relief to tell someone. I had gone through nine months of hell."

Tony was joined by St Mirren manager Oran Kearney as he offered his support to the NSPCC.

And he urged any child who is being bullied to speak to an adult they trust or to a counsellor at the NSPCC's Childline service.

Tony added: "The message I would like to get across during Anti-Bullying Week is that you are never alone – there is always someone a child can turn to for help.”

Last year alone, Childline carried out 1,039 counselling sessions with children contacting the service about bullying or cyber-bullying.

In May this year, Tony joined NSPCC Scotland as the children’s charity delivered ‘Speak Out, Stay Safe’ assemblies at St Catherine’s Primary School, in Paisley.

The Speak Out, Stay Safe service teaches children what abuse is and which trusted adults they can turn to for help if they have any worries.

Tony added: “The message NSPCC Scotland delivers by teaching children to speak out about anything that is concerning them is vital.”

Alan Stewart, NSPCC Scotland's schools service manager, added: “We are extremely grateful to Tony for highlighting Anti-Bullying Week.

“Tony bravely talks about his personal experiences of being bullied at school and how it was only when he turned to his parents for help that the situation was resolved.

“That is the message we deliver in our Speak Out, Stay Safe primary school assemblies, which have been delivered in all 32 local authorities in Scotland.

“Whether it’s happening online or in the real world, it is vitally important that any young person who is experiencing bullying talks to someone they trust, be it a friend, parent, teacher or a Childline counsellor.”

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Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free on 0808 800 5000.

Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111.