We first met Tim when he slipped into our DM’s. We put out the casting call for our latest campaign and held our breaths. Luckily, we woke to a bustling inbox, and Tim was tucked in amongst it. We struck up a conversation and the rest was history.
As a brand, it’s a value of ours to understand and connect with the men who use our products. It’s also humbling to learn in more depth about the inspirational men who use our products and vouch for us. At the end of the day, thats what it’s all about so it’s been a great privilege to flip the narrative and shine a light on some of the men who make Randies what it is today.
We got chatting with Tim on the set of our shoot, and were intrigued to hear more about him. An NHS doctor for over 30 years, he now works closely with war veterans in recovery. His personal experience and career has led him to lead a colourful life across the world, and gifted him with an open resilience and an ability to talk about subjects that others sometimes struggle with.
Read on to learn about this months Rock & Roller, Tim McNicholas.
Tim, could you let our readers know a little more about who you are, and what led you to where you are today?
I’ve been an NHS doctor for over 30 years and am a passionate advocate for men’s mental and physical health. I lost two close male members of my family, including my father at an early age, so I feel acutely aware of the importance of discussing our physical health to stay aware of our health needs, and also of de-stigmatising conversations about mental health including grief, depression and anxiety.
I was brought up in Northern England, and trained at St Andrews University. Perhaps losing two close male members of my family very young has made me particularly resilient, but it also keeps me vigilant about men’s health.
After qualifying as a doctor, I travelled extensively and worked in West Africa organising outreach clinics in rural villages also holding weekly clinics in a men’s prisons where I saw first-hand how social and economic inequalities can affect men’s health and wellbeing, and gained an understanding of the global cultural differences which form our perceptions of masculinity
Recently discovering that my DNA is part Viking may explain my hankering for sailing and open spaces (I do less pillaging these days).For me, there is nothing better than being at the helm in the middle of the night with a hot mug of tea and salty water blowing in your face. These days my passion continues to be skiing and I crave those crisp sunny days on top of a mountain drinking a few glasses of rose with my grown up daughters and friends until the last run down as the sun sets.
Your work sounds very interesting and inspiring to an outsider. Could you explain how you got there, and what drives you to continue what you’re doing each day?
For the past 25 years I have worked closely with, and rented my office from Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation; a charity which is a leading provider of supported housing for vulnerable veterans. Along with the usual GP population, I have been honoured look after hundreds of vulnerable and disabled veterans. Although I may not be sequencing the human genome or discovering new planets I hope that our work is making a positive contribution to people’s lives.
I also liaise and work closely with other amazing charities such as Combat Stress and Help For Heroes as well as Turning Point. I hope readers could support and raise awareness for them in any way they can. It has been particularly rewarding to see the bravery and fortitude of veterans over the 25 years. From the now vulnerable WW2 veterans, to more topical issues including PTSD and alcohol problems relating more recently to those who served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is still humbling for example to hear the gratitude of veterans that I met 15 years ago living on the streets, and our team has helped them find stable work and accommodation.
I also enjoy being a tutor for Imperial College School of Medicine, which is my opportunity to give back to students and hopefully inspire them into a more holistic approach to the management of patients. My day is therefore constantly changing, varied and reflective which I find inspiring.
During the COVID Crisis and the stressful days of Lockdown I was asked to keep Sky News informed of what was happening on the frontline, which you can view here -
Also of therapeutic value, not just for myself, but also my patients, my cocker spaniel regularly comes to work with me. For more information on benefits of that you can view this website.
What drew you to coming forward for the Randies casting call? Did you have any experiences during the day that helped you learn about yourself, or others? And would you do it again!? Could you share what you love about Randies as a brand, and also as a product?
Having been given a pair as a present by my neighbour, I was impressed by the presentation and quality of the product. I then discovered their ethos on sustainability and caring for the fragile state of the environment which really resonates with me. I saw the casting call and decided to go for it; I’m a great believer in putting oneself in uncomfortable situations. For me, that could be for example public speaking or even sitting on a stool in undies with lights and photographers!
In a world where there is huge impact of unrealistic appearance ideals, celebrity culture and advertising, and having three beautiful grown up daughters, I believe it is really important to empower people to build body confidence. This is Randies ethos too and I was happy to jump on board!
I particularly follow the research done at West of England University Bristol and their amazing work which you can discover at Centre For Appearance Research. We must remember that even starting a conversation with someone about body confidence can make a difference.
Do you have anything coming up that you would like to share with our readers? Or any causes that you would like to raise awareness for?
I’m a strong advocate of mens mental health all year round. We obviously have to be vigilant about cholesterol, prostate tests and examinations and be open to discuss these with your doctor. I fully support Randies campaign to … “tickle your tackle”… You cannot be overly familiar with the feel of your testicles! It’s so important to regularly feel them to see if any change has occurred, so you can then seek help.
Do you have any personal routines or activities that help keep on your path each day?
I’m also a great believer and try to practice Mindfulness - to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing and trying not to be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Personally I use the Headspace app and believe that the power of Meditation is immense. One piece of advice that my father gave me at a young age was that sleep is “over-rated” and unlike many of my patients who request sleeping tablets, I have never gotten stressed about not being able to sleep , I find meditation just as restful for the mind and body.
As I get older (and not necessarily wiser!) I am becoming more open to new journeys of self-discovery. I have always tried to combine the holistic approach to treating mind and body. I work in my practice with several alternative treatment pioneers including traditional Chinese acupuncture and cranial osteopathy.
One interest that I would like to explore next (probably again a result of my Viking heritage!) is Forest Bathing-translated and originating from the Japanese term “Shinrin-yoku” it encompasses spending quality time fully immersed in the forest atmosphere, under a canopy of trees, for health and wellbeing purposes…. Food for the soul!
I believe that too often we talk about the mind and body as separate entities. Talking about these in unison; harmoniously, we can reach a higher level. I am blessed to have experienced love in a myriad of forms giving me the courage to make decisions and not being ashamed around the narrative of ones sexuality.
Do you have any final pieces of wisdom and knowledge you would like to share with us?
On a daily basis at work I often see life at its bleakest, so it is important to live life every day and delight in the simple things; having coffee with friends or family, or going for a walk in a park on a wet day.
I’d Just like to thank Randies for the opportunity to explore my thoughts and inhibitions, and remember, the STRONGEST thing that you can do is show your vulnerable side!
If you want to explore any of this further or any questions DM me on instagram @timmcnic