More to Mr Perfect barbie than sausage in a roll

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It’s Sunday, April 21 and the tantalising smells of sausages being cooked on a barbie are wafting across Koshigaya Park.

 Men in groups big and small are scattered around the barbecue, as more and more of them arrive on this mild autumn morning.

Leigh Ninham, the host of the Campbelltown branch of Mr Perfect. More than a Barbecue – to give it its formal name – is busy greeting new arrivals.

When he spots me, he comes straight over, and welcomes me to the special, fourth anniversary Mr Perfect in Campbelltown.

The Rosemeadow resident is a typical, down to earth Campbelltonian – no airs or graces here.

He looks pleased although it’s just a few minutes after 10am, the set time for the start of the barbecue.

When he sees two Campbelltown councillors, veteran Laborite Meg Oates and young independent Josh Cotter – whose side hustle is a charity called Rise Above – Leigh excuses himself to go over and extend the hand of welcome.

Mr Perfect is, as the title says, more than a barbecue, so Lifeline Macarthur also has a presence today, with a table where various pamphlets are available for anyone who wants them.

Two young women from commercial radio station C91.3 have also dropped in, and will be handing out goodies towards the end of the function.

There’s also a representative of Wests Group Macarthur, who are substantial supporters of mental health support initiatives like Mr Perfect.

Meanwhile, more councillors arrive on the scene, Darcy Lound and Karen Hunt and Masood Chowdhury.

There are some familiar faces among the crowd, which has grown to around 60 people by 10.30am.

Mr Perfect Campbelltown host Leigh Ninham (with cap), and, top, with councillors Josh Cotter and Meg Oates.

“Get in and have a snag,’’ Leigh says to me when we hook up again after we both did the rounds of the kitchen, so to speak.

“It’s a great turnout; we started with a few fellows four years ago and now regularly get more than 30 every month,’’ he says.

“A while back we switched to halal sausages and mince for the hamburger patties and that seemed to increase our numbers.’’

So, I ask Leigh, do most men come because of the free food or for the company?

“Both, I think, have a look at them, all having a chat with someone.

“They are outside and talking and connecting with other men like themselves, who may suffer from isolation from time to time.

“The food may be what gets them here, but they have more than sausage in a roll in their minds.’’

I choose a hamburger pattie when I finally decide to have something to eat.

Now I must make it clear I ate something so I can report back to our readers whether the food tastes as good as it smells.

It does – nine out of 10 from my point of view.

While wolfing it down, I check my notes and realise that some people (the wife) have asked me to find out about the name of the initiative: Mr Perfect, which is indeed a curious appellation for a monthly barbecue (on the third Sunday of each month) for men who maybe in need of some company now and again.

Leigh smiles when he listens to my enquiry, which tells me he’s heard this question many times.

Anyway, long story short, the man who started this initiative went by the nickname of Mr Perfect.

“His mate just thought he had an ideal life, that he was perfect in everything he did, so that was his nickname,’’ Leigh explains.

“What they did not know was that he had mental health issues.

“But when he started the very first group in Brookvale, he called it Mr Perfect and that was that.’’

A Mr Perfect in every town in Australia is the ultimate aim of this men’s mental health support initiative.

I hope they succeed, because looking at the one we are lucky enough to have here in Campbelltown it certainly should be among the tools available to deal with mental health challenges.

As for Leigh Ninham, well, as far as I am concerned, he should be Campbelltown man of the year, that’s all.

1 thought on “More to Mr Perfect barbie than sausage in a roll”

  1. Leigh is highly instrumental in the numbers of the Campbelltown wing of Mr Perfect continuing to grow. He ensures everyone is made to feel at home amongst mates, even just sitting and observing. He constantly promotes the importance of this gathering for men’s mental health hoping always that someone benefits and feels comfortable in the camaraderie of just being there and enjoying the serenity of Koshigaya Park, Campbelltown. Leigh and Mr Perfect are achieving great results in Campbelltown. Thank you Leigh for your devotion, commitment and hard work to promote such a worthy group. Long may Mr Perfect continue to be available to support men.


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