Boyband on battling bullies
boyband JLS have told how they have become the target of
The online bullies pick on innocent and vulnerable people, including
crime victims and their grieving families.
Sun recently launched the Target A Troll campaign after exposing web
attacks on high-profile victims including Amy Winehouse, the parents of
Madeleine McCann and comic Dom Joly.
Factor stars Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold, Oritse Williams and JB Gill
have been taunted on their Twitter pages by the cyber bullies.
The lads want to use the foundation they have set up to help put a stop
to this online vitriol along with all other kinds of bullying.
Aston, 23, said: "Regardless of our position, we have been attacked too.
"With us it's usually something stupid about what clothes we've been
wearing or something.
"We're thick-skinned boys and we try to take it with a pinch of salt.
But other people get in touch with us whose lives have been completely
ruined by it.
"All bullying is terrible but this new phenomenon of trolling is really
"There's no difference between hurling abuse in the playground or
posting messages on the internet. It all hurts. It's just that cowards
can now post things online when they wouldn't say it to your face."
On top of their hectic touring and recording schedules, last year the
lads launched their own charitable fund, The JLS Foundation.
It has always been the lads' dream to raise as much money for others as
And they have been doing that in various ways, including holding
paid-for meet and greets on their tour, launching a range of Durex
condoms and donating funds from merchandise sales.
Each of the band have chosen a cause for their foundation to donate to
and, incredibly, they have already handed out ?100,000.
Last week the boys toured each of their nominated charities to see how
that money is being spent
MARVIN'S chosen cause is NSPCC, which helps run the 24-hour
ChildLine counselling service.
The 26-year-old told two years ago in a clip on the charity's website
that he was picked on while at school because he wore glasses.
Hundreds of kids then emailed in to say his revelation had inspired them
to get help with their own bullying issues.
On a tour of a ChildLine counselling centre in central London, Marvin
heard moving stories about the youngsters the charity has helped.
He said: "I met this girl who was in and out of care while growing up.
"One thing led to another and she became homeless when she was 13 or 14.
Not long after that things escalated and she ended up working as a
"But she reached out to the people at ChildLine, they helped her and she
has now totally turned her life around.
"Stories like that make you realise that if ChildLine hadn't been there
then her life would probably be in a very different place right now."
ASTON visited the London headquarters of his chosen charity,
He met up with some of the counsellors and children who have been helped
by the organisation in the past.
And he chatted to someone who would not have been around today if it
wasn't for Beatbullying.
He said: "This girl had been involved with the charity for three years.
"She had been bullied over many, many years and after a while it just
got too much for her and she ended up trying to hang herself. Luckily
someone found her and she was referred to a Beatbullying mentor. By
talking to this mentor she started to be able to cope. So by talking to
them it actually saved her life.
"She was one of the biggest inspirations to me."
"It's great being a young guy and having the big house and the sports
cars or whatever but, as far as we're concerned, you're never too big to
be inspired by someone."
ORITSE'S work with his chosen cause, the MS Society, goes back to
the very heart of JLS ? he formed the band so he could provide for his
mum Sonia, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
She was diagnosed with the nerve disease almost 15 years ago and is now
unable to walk. The singer made a pact with his younger brother Temisan
to help their beloved mum ? Oritse would raise cash to support her
through JLS and his brother would get into medicine so he could try to
find a cure for the illness.
Temisan has kept his word ? he graduated earlier this year with a degree
in biomedical science.
Oritse, 24, said: "I have cared for my mum since I was 12. She went from
being able to run along with me to not being able to stand up.
"I will continue for as long as I live to do work with the MS Society
and to try to find a cure for multiple sclerosis, which I feel isn't as
far away as people think.
"If we keep on putting money into research and new science, hopefully we
can get closer and closer to tackling the illness. I'm very positive,
I'm very confident. I've cried all I need to cry, I've gone through all
of the emotions I needed to go through and I'm just on the wavelength
that one day it's going to happen and hopefully it will be in time to
save my mum.
"She's in the respite centre at the moment and I'm seeing things that
are starting to help her.
"There's so much that is being discovered, but the thing about MS is
it's an illness that hasn't had major publicity, so it probably hasn't
been at the forefront of the list of illnesses.
"But it is becoming more and more common and it is through my
involvement, and the rest of the boys supporting me and the charity,
that we are able to build more and more awareness."
Stuart Nixon, acting chair of the MS Society, is hugely grateful for the
He said: "The right equipment makes the difference between an existence
and a life. These days the amount of funds are decreasing for things
like house adaptations, so often people are restricted to living in just
"Money like this can change that situation for people."
JB nominated the Rays Of Sunshine as his cause.
The group grant wishes to children living with serious or life-limiting
illnesses and help hospitals, hospices and schools improve their
JB says working with the charity has been the most humbling thing he has
The 24-year-old said: "A while ago there was one boy I met there who was
ridiculously clever. He was eight years old and had a reading age of 15
and he wanted to get into Oxford within two years.
"He had extreme arthritis which was extremely painful
"It made it difficult for him to go and socialise with people his own
age because he can't do things like kick a ball around.
"But something like coming down to a show and meeting his idols or going
to a football match and meeting the players spurs him on and makes life
so much better.
"When you meet some of these people, it's so hard to grasp what they've
been through because I've had nothing like that happen.
"Anything that you've achieved just seems so insignificant in