‘Belfast Boy’ – Callum Best designs and dedicates listening bench to his late father
Callum Best joined Good Morning Britain live from Fulham today as the next celebrity to back the show’s 1 Million Minutes campaign.
Alongside other celebrities, the reality star has designed one of six special benches across the UK - his is in Belfast - to encourage people to strike up a conversation.
Best’s bench is dedicated to his late father, George Best - the legendary footballer. Callum began:
“Well done everyone who has got involved in 1 Million Minutes, I think it’s an incredible campaign. It was a real honour for me to take part in it as well.
“I thought the bench aspect was a really, really good idea because it invites people to welcome and save space. From experience, once you start to open up and speak out, things can get better for people.
“A lot of people might not be comfortable just opening up and speaking out. And I think a place like this, gives them a bit of a safe space where they know what that bench is for - they know they’re going down there to speak, open up about life and talk about what they’re going through. I was really happy to do it.”
“It’s really sad to say, but I use my social media a lot for this kind of conversation and in the past few months - we know what everyone’s going through - there’s a lot of upset and fear and unknown, and people are taking their lives. People are in a really, really dark space - and I know it’s said a lot, about people opening up and speaking up, but it’s just so important right now, because people are really, really struggling.
“I think the fact that these benches are now placed all over different cities, for me, going to Belfast really hit home because that’s where my dad’s from. And I wanted to put a picture of my dad’s face, because to so many people in Belfast it’s such a friendly, welcoming place.
He added: “And all due respect when I say this, but for the older generation they might not speak up as much - from what I’ve seen and experienced - so they can go down there and use a picture of my dad to strike up a conversation, chat about good memories. And for the younger generation, I’d just like to say to them - reach out to other people. Reach out via your social media, reach out via text or even with strangers - invite them down to that bench.
“Let’s talk about the happier times we will get to, because people right now with the Chirtsmas holidays will be struggling.”
Speaking from experience Callum concluded:
“As I got older, when I was dealing with grieving for example, once I started the process of speaking about what I was going through, I understood how to grieve, I understood the process of losing somebody, a loved one. And now I’ve gone from a place of struggling on the inside to whatever problems come to mind, you’re able to process them and cope with them.
“This is letting people know - you’ve got a bench, start the process of letting people know what’s on the inside that might be worrying you and things will get better.
“If you don’t do it normally, now could be the time to do it, because now more than ever it’s needed.”
Callum also donated some of his time to the campaign whilst on air, which so far this year has seen 148.5 million minutes of time donated.
Now in its sixth consecutive year, 2021’s 1 Million Minutes initiative rolled out across the UK this December and has been backed by a host of celebrity stunts and endorsements, plus the entire GMB family. The project asks viewers to pledge time rather than money and this time is donatto to charities looking for volunteers to connect with those who feel alone.
It has never been more important for us to talk about feeling lonely, especially following the acute isolation that lockdown has caused millions of people across the world.
This year GMB is looking at the many faces of loneliness, recognising it in ourselves and others.
To watch the show in full visit www.itv.com/hub
Good Morning Britain weekdays from 6am on ITV and ITV Hub