A former Dales man has achieved global fame with an anti-bullying video based on his experiences as a child.
John Wragg was born in Crich and moved to New Street, Matlock, when he was three–years–old.
He attended All Saints School and then John Turner School, in Darley Dale, but was incessantly bullied for having the first name Godfrey.
“Kids can be incredibly cruel,” the 60-year-old said.
“I’m over it now I’m 60, but when you’re a kid, especially aged 11, 12, 13 and 14 years old it gets you.”
He moved to the United States 30 years ago and took his middle name ‘John’.
Now he works in the construction industry and lives in New York state.
“I have always loved music,” he said. “I used to be a DJ at the Black Rocks Club in Cromford.”
He decided he wanted to do something to support World Anti–Bullying Day, which was on October 6, so he came up with the idea of filming a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘We are the World’.
“I got hold of some friends and I said ‘this is something that I want to do’ and had 21 people who wanted to help,” he said. Among those willing to take part, was the family of American teenager Jamey Rodemeyer, who hanged himself after being bullied.
“It’s to promote bullying awareness, there is no charity involvement, there is no money involved,” John explained.
“There are always going to be bullies out there, but what I’m trying to do is find someone – be it a kid or an grown-up – who is being bullied and they think they have nobody and they’re on their own, and show them that they are not on their own.”
The video hit the headlines in America and has since become a global sensation. View the video by visiting www.matlockmercury.co.uk