Mrs Brown's boy Dino Doyle is more than happy to help encourage others to chat about their feelings

The television star has experienced his own ups and downs in life

Actor Gary Hollywood with Ann Marie Cocozza from FAMS (Image: Wishaw Press)

A star of Mrs Brown’s Boys is championing the cause of a charity that was formed in Wishaw.

Scots actor Gary Hollywood, 40, who plays hairdresser Dino Doyle in the show, jumped at the chance to become an ambassador for FAMS.

The organisation provides support to people affected by murder and suicide, and to those encountering mental health and wellbeing issues.

It recently recruited more than 50 volunteers as it launched its new support service FAMS.Chat.

The Glasgow-born actor, who has been personally affected by suicide, said: “I’ve lost a few pals through suicide and one in particular was a great friend. Everything seemed fine and I had been speaking to her a few weeks before she committed suicide, and there were no signs. So that was sore.

“I’m so proud to get involved, and honoured to be asked to become a patron for FAMS. I love the fact that everyone in here is a volunteer and they are all coming in and giving their time.”

Despite being part of the BAFTA award winning show’s team for around 20 years, as an actor Gary knows that life can be unpredictable.

He admitted: “There have been times in my life, especially when I was younger, I had to deal with rejection and learn quick.

“There were times when I’d be hitting a depression – thinking ‘where’s the next job coming from?’ My mum and dad and my brothers were a great support. I went through a divorce and that hit me hard as well – missing my children and trying to deal with the situation.”

Gary married long-term partner Cherylanne last year and he became a father again earlier this year when baby Ollie arrived.

The couple live in Lanzarote but the coronavirus has meant they have been stuck in Scotland since before the birth. They have been living in the Pollok area where Gary grew up the youngest of four brothers and aspired to act from an early age.

Gary with the FAMS volunteers (Image: Wishaw Press)

He said: “I always wanted to be an actor and that was unheard of where I come from. I have ginger hair and got a slagging for that and for my name.

“When I decided to become an actor everyone said ‘oh, that’s your stage name’. My dad’s family are all from Govan and there’s tonnes of Hollywoods kicking about there.”

Gary started acting when he was 12 and made his first TV appearance in Taggart before landing a part a couple of years later in Scottish soap Take the High Road as young rogue Dominic Dunbar.

Gary is pragmatic about his own life struggles and the breakdown of previous relationships, from which he has three older children.

He said: “It’s just a shame these things happen, and the difficulties and animosity that go with it. I’m in a different chapter in my life now but I still love my children, I never fell out of love with them.”

He thinks most people struggle with mental health issues at some point and urges them to reach out, adding: “The shame and stigma is slowly but surely starting to lift and people are having the confidence to talk about it. There is no shame.

“My message is that you are not alone. Pick up the phone. There are people here for a chat, no one is judging you. These people are here to listen.”

The FAMS.Chat service is available seven days a-week from 10am to 10pm.

Call 07736 326062 or email [email protected]

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