A Rotherham man has made a heartfelt appeal to people to be kind if they see him carrying a doll.
Tim Foers, who owns more than 70 realistic dolls, says they are the closest he can come to being a father because he has cerebral palsy.
But cruel bullies called him a “freak” and a “pervert”, suggesting he uses them as sex dolls.
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Now Tim urges people not to judge others before knowing their story.
He said: “People need to know that what I’m doing isn’t illegal and obviously there’s a valid reason why I’m collecting them.”
“I always wanted to be a father figure,” he added.
Tim said he loved playing with dolls as a child because he was afraid of toys that made “bang” noises.
He’s also found that performing simple tasks like attaching studs to baby vests can help control painful spasms in his hands.
So in 2017 he started collecting Reborn dolls, and his collection has since grown and he even has a doll from Australia.
Tim said the dolls reminded him of his happy childhood and the children he loved helping when he volunteered at a school in the past.
But he’s been bullied on social media and around town, where he likes to take his dolls out.
Determined not to let the bullies win, Tim shares his story online.
Posting to the Rawmarsh Chit Chat group on Facebook, Tim introduced himself to residents, telling them “not to be alarmed” if they spot him.
“My goal in life is to stop people from judging me until they find out my reason,” he added.
Tim also launched a website which presents its collection and supports the children’s charity Kidscape.
He said: “Kidscape helps bullied kids try to live their lives as best they can.
“Bullying is wrong and I fight hard to show bullies the mistakes of their ways.”
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