A BAR owner from Rossendale is trying to raise awareness of alopecia by finding success in a modelling competition.

Thomas O’Toole from Helmshore is competing in the social media round of ‘Mr England’ as he looks to become a finalist.

Contestants with the most likes on their photos on Facebook will progress to the next round where they will compete against others who gained qualifications from regional competitions across the country.

Mr O’Toole, who owns The Live Lounge in Haslingden, started suffering from alopecia in August last year, and said that his main motivation for entering is to try and encourage people suffering from the condition to stay confident.

He said: “For me hair was a huge part of my appearance and confidence. To lose my hair was a big deal like many men out there.

“I lost all my confidence after losing my hair.

“But now I’m modelling again, I want to show people you can come back from this.

“It’s more to raise awareness why I’m entering. I want to show that you can still go out and do whatever you want after having alopecia.”

The 25-year-old said that he started wearing a cap and hiding himself in public when he first began losing his hair

He then joined a Facebook group which allowed him to share his story with others who suffered similar conditions.

The former actor, who appeared in Hollyoaks, Shameless and Fresh Meat, got through to this stage of the competition after passing the audition and first interview stage.

Mr O’Toole is leading the social media round and hopes his journey will continue for him to reach the final in Birmingham on July 14.

The top prize is a trip to Sri Lanka to choose a wardrobe of clothing from Envoy London and the chance to represent England at the Mr World competition.

Mr O’Toole, who previously modelled for clothing brands such as Limitless Clothing, and he wants to help inspire those in need.

He said: “The Mr England title for me isn’t about having good looks it’s more about being a role model.

“I’ve always wanted to open a youth club or hold classes for people who have experienced the alopecia journey, so they can all talk and share there own story.

To vote for Mr O’Toole visit the ‘Mr England’ facebook page before noon on Friday, March 31.