By Dan Santy 03/04 Updated: 11/04 09:43
A MAN who suffers with a rare condition which causes tumours to grow on his face has appeared in a controversial television documentary looking for love.
Justin Coling features in documentary series The Undateables which starts on Channel 4 tonight (Tuesday) and follows people with disabilities, such as facial deformities, on a quest to find a partner.
The 39-year-old has neurofibromatosis type one, a condition that causes tumours to grow on his skin.
The stock assistant for a printing firm in Rugby lives alone with his cat, Leo, and had never been on a date before appearing on the show.
When the programme was first announced it hit the headlines before it was even shown as people branded it 'offensive' and even likened it to a Victorian freak show.
Justin told a national newspaper when the name of the show was first announced he was not too sure but added appearing on The Undateables had helped realise he could meet someone if he tried.
He said: "The whole point of it is so people with disabilities can date. I don't suppose anybody is easy to find a date for, but mine went really well.
"The female population has never really shown any affection towards me and I've never really pushed it or pursued it. I'm not looking for sympathy – there have just been extra challenges.
"I've learned if I'm going to meet someone, I need to get up and go out. I've registered on another dating site and I am on the lookout. She has got to be kind, considerate, thoughtful and understanding."
Warwickshire dating agency, Searchmate, based near Leamington, also features in the series.
Managing director, Jaci Barton, insists the series is aimed at 'turning society's prejudice on its head'.
She did however say working with the group of eight - which includes a man with Down Syndrome, a man with a serious bone condition which causes facial deformities and another with tourettes - was 'very challenging'.
"We had achieved relationships for disabled clients and clients with impairments in the past and were happy to try for the clients that Channel 4 brought us," she said.
"We found it very challenging - we don’t think any wedding bells were ringing in the few weeks we were given to work with them but we really hope we have opened their eyes to the possibilities out there for them.
"And we hope the programme will open society’s eyes to the fact there is more to love than what the other person looks or sounds like.
"Dating for the Disabled is certainly a service Searchmate will consider expanding into in the future."
The final two parts of the documentary will air later this month.
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