A TAUNTON teenager with a genetic condition who was bullied for his appearance has become an ambassador for Jeans for Genes.

Ashley Carter, 19, from Taunton was subjected to cruel taunts during his school years.

He has become an ambassador for Jeans for Genes and a campaigner for anti-bullying in a bid to raise awareness genetic disorders and to stop other young people being bullied because they look different.

The 18-year-old has Treacher Collins syndrome and was born without any ears, a receding jaw and no cheekbones.

He has had over 30 operations including three jaw distractions and Cohlear Impants (bone anchored hearing aids) and when he was just a baby, he had to have a Tracheostomy after swallowing his tongue.

But almost worse than the surgery, was the bullying that Ashley endured at primary school.

Ashley said: "Within a week or two of starting the second school, the bullying began with two boys.

"I just started getting things thrown at me … bottle lids, food… The bullies took over my life, I didn't open up fully to anyone until later on ... It affected both my confidence and my mental health."

In 2017, Ashley found Fixers, a charity which works with young people aged 16-25 who want to use their past to fix the future.

He was encouraged to film his personal experience of being bullied for his facial disfigurement and his video was aired on ITV News West Country, leading to features on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Loose Women. ]

For more information about Jeans for Genes visit www.jeansforgenesday.org