Model goal after marriage split-up
A marriage break-up and having to give up a much-loved job would knock most of us for six.
But one Bath man is using his experiences as the catalyst to start a new career as a model, with his efforts already paying off as reaches the finals of a national competition.
Matt Gray, 26, is in the final 30 of the Britain's Best Groomed Man competition, organised by luxury shaving brand The Bluebeards Revenge and cancer charity Orchid.
The winner of the competition will get a one-year modelling contract, representing the brand in national advertising. The competition was launched after the cancer charity realised that although men were spending more time on their appearance, they were unlikely to check themselves for male cancers.
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Mr Gray, who works on the reception desk at the Thermae Bath Spa, said his work as a retained fireman had led to the end of his marriage.
"It was a job I was passionate about and when I got into it I was so excited.
"The problem was I was retained so I was going home to be on call until pretty much the next day. It meant a lot of my social life died out and I couldn't do things with my wife because I was on call, and we separated.
"I'd hoped that as a retained firefighter I'd get my foot in the door but changes in the fire service meant there were no vacancies for the next few years."
Mr Gray said he gave up his firefighting work in a vain bid to save his marriage.
"It was tough to come back from that but my friends have helped me," he added.
"I thought modelling would be a good thing to get into and saw the competition was also a campaign for cancer and thought there was no harm in trying.
"My grandad passed away from cancer so it has had an effect on my family.
"You hear lots about breast cancer but you hear much less about male cancers.
"I only started to model in November and this competition is exciting. I want to win but also to help raise cancer awareness."
People can vote online for him at www.bluebeards-revenge.co. uk/ bgvote/ until March 8.
The deadline for voting is Friday, March 8.
Orchid aims to save men's lives from testicular, prostate, and penile cancers through pioneering research, specialist information and raising awareness. More information can be found at www. orchid-cancer.org.uk.