Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton has proven his caring nature by revealing that he once responded to a call about a suicidal soldier and took him home – then unexpectedly bumped into him five years later.
Speaking to The Mirror the actor, who has played Sean Tully in the ITV soap since 2003, explained that he rushed straight out to find the man when he received the distress call at 11.30pm one night.
"I drove to a motorway bridge, to a soldier I'd never met who was suicidal and then drove him back to my house," he explained.
And five years later Antony, who is closely involved with military charities, saw him out shopping on Christmas Eve and enjoyed an emotional reunion with the man he helped.
"I saw him in a supermarket, walking towards me with a pram with his wife and two babies," Antony said. "There was Christmas music playing and I stepped round my trolley and hugged him.
"We were both close to tears and he just said: 'Thank you'. It made my Christmas and that's why I do what I do."
The actor recently teamed up with the Sunday People to visit the residents of Greater Manchester's Broughton House, a retirement home for ex-soldiers, to hand out presents.
And the actor says that he wants his charity work to be his main legacy.
"I do it with such pride and pleasure and if somebody took it away from me, I'd be devastated," he said.
Earlier this year the actor took on a group of anti-LGBTQ+ protesters at Manchester Pride while parading on the Corrie float.
He approached the group and waved the Pride flag in front of them, touching their signs with it, and blew them a kiss, which was greeted with cheers by fans.
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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