Fringe Box



Dragon Interview: Bigmouth Guildford

Published on: 20 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 22 Mar, 2023

Stu “Bigmouth Guildford” Mandy Millyard

By Mandy Millyard

Last weekend, I had the privilege of meeting up with Stuart Alexander, the man behind “Bigmouth Guildford”.

I asked Stuart or “Stu”a few questions about himself, and what gave him the inspiration for Bigmouth. He has lived all his life in Guildford, this year will be his 50th birthday.

As a youngster, he lived in Park Barn (a “Barner”) and went to the local secondary school. His school years were difficult and these tough experiences inspired a desire to help young people who may be otherwise unheard.

“Bigmouth” was the name Stu adopted when he realised the power of the camera on his phone. In 2017, he set up a dog walking service, “One Man and His Dog”, and he started to take photos of his town and surrounding countryside and post them on social media.

He quickly gained a following, and this gave him the idea of promoting local businesses and events – and this was the birth of “Bigmouth Guildford”.

Stuart’s drive to make his hometown a better, safer, place is contagious. Behind him, he has an “army” of people with similar thinking and drive, who he can call on to help him with promotion.

One of Stuart’s proudest achievements of the Bigmouth project is his work with the charity Guildford Action.

I asked him if something significant had happened for him to become a champion of theirs. He told me about a meeting he had with a young man called Alex, a boxer, who slept on the streets.

Stu at the Castle Grounds Bandstand. The place means a lot to him,
as he used it as his “office” in the early days of Bigmouth Guildford and is where he interviewed Alex, four years ago. Mandy Millyard

Alex’s story was one of a tough life. Stuart filmed him, with his permission, and between them they used this film footage, along with the Bigmouth platform, to promote Guildford Action and the incredible services it provides to families and individuals in need.

Stuart has raised the awareness of homelessness in our town by sleeping out on the streets at night himself – filming it to document the real experiences that those who regularly sleep rough face, night after night.

He says that this situation has changed significantly in the last four years – the fear of knife crime and the threat of violence, even if the number of instances has not increased, has become more acute in recent times. This side of town life is rarely seen, or known about, by most of the community.

Growing Bigmouth hasn’t been without obstacles. Initially, there were doubters. But, as Stuart’s nan would have said, “the proof is in the eating”, and he feels that many more people are now on board with his thinking.

The Bigmouth Cab

One of the most recently talked about aspects of the project is the new “Bigmouth cab”. Although not a taxi driver, Stu is using a taxi cab and uses it for interviews and to promote local businesses and events – giving individuals a chance to advertise themselves in a very novel way.

By videoing the interviews, and putting them on his social media platforms he hopes to create high-quality content that better engages the local community.

This innovative approach is just another reflection of Stuart’s commitment to keep Bigmouth at the forefront of community engagement.

Speaking to Stuart, it very quickly becomes evident that he has a deep understanding of what makes Guildford special, and what will make it continue to be a thriving, vibrant, town.

Stuart has been “mentioned in despatches”, twice, in parliament. And awarded the Mayor’s Award for his work supporting the community and business throughout the pandemic.

Click here for the Bigmouth Foundation – this gives more detailed information on what the foundation stands for, and on how you can help make a difference to people in need in your own town.

And click here to download the Bigmouth app – connecting local people with special offers within the town, and click here for Guildford Action.


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Responses to Dragon Interview: Bigmouth Guildford

  1. Keith Parkins Reply

    March 21, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    Understanding of Guildford, I think not.

    Promoted the North Street development, which would have been a disaster for Guildford.

    Backs Experience Guildford which is killing struggling local businesses with the BID Levy.

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