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Simon Thomas named as one of the UK's top male role models

Simon Thomas supporting his son Ethan at a football game. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Simon Thomas supporting his son Ethan at a football game. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Norfolk's own Simon Thomas has been named as one the UK's top 50 male role models.

The former Sky Sports presenter, who was born and raised in Nelson’s County, was named by men’s media brand The Book of Man, following its findings that only one third of men said they had a role model.

Mr Thomas last year went through the trauma of losing his wife Gemma to acute myeloid leukaemia, leaving him as single parent to their son Ethan.

He has spoken publicly about grief and his experience of single parenting on social media.

He said: “That first morning after she went I remember Ethan coming up to me in the lounge and through his tears he said these words ‘Daddy, you know every weekend you go away and do the football, and I spend the weekend with Mummy, what do I do now?’ And they have stuck with me ever since.”

The Book of Man said Mr Thomas was included because, like the other men and women on the list, he represented the principles of progressive masculinity. Martin Robinson, Editor and CEO of The Book of Man, defines these as “values like compassion, communication, responsibility and respect, which we feel men today should strive to emulate”.

The research also uncovered that two-thirds of men say that male stereotypes are damaging and over half of men say the definition of masculinity needs to change.

Mr Robinson said that suicide and depression figures pointed towards a problem with masculinity and introduced the list by saying: “We thought it would be useful to identify the 50 new role models who are pointing the way for men to be.

“The Book Of Man acts as a support network for men by showing them that there are different ways of being a man. The feminist movement has rightly called for change in the way women are stereotyped 
and treated, but men haven’t done the same.

“Why can’t men talk about their problems? It’s time to start. And this list is a good place to start.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Watson, Princes William and Harry, and rapper Stormzy are just a few of the other famous faces to have made the list.

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