Shay Leighton

Shay Leighton would say he is just an ordinary guy with a talent for organising events. But eight years ago, he turned that talent into starting a book club.

After experiencing the demise of a relationship, a business, and some close friendships in a short space of time, Shay felt his life was stagnating. Along with his friend Tom Scott, Shay decided to try and start a book club, and Tough Guy Book Club was born.

The aim was simple – get blokes to read a book, meet up and talk more. What started as two friends in a pub in Collingwood has grown into an international club, with hundreds of men meeting in over 50 locations, including spots in the UK, the USA and New Zealand. Shay has been supporting the club every step of the way.

Shay has worked tirelessly for the last 8 years to grow and improve the club. While he encourages chapters to be set up anywhere where people are willing, Shay personally visits with people to help them set up a club, or is available on the phone to help answer questions, solve logistics and provide support.

I can honestly attest to how much work Shay has put into Tough Guy Book Club. He has invested every spare hour and every spare dollar into the club. In lieu of personal holidays, Shay has organised an annual camping meet up for members of Tough Guy Book Club from all over Australia. It’s a chance for members of the club to meet each other, catch up with old friends and make some new ones – but it also allows Tough Guy Book Club to come together as a community.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone into lockdown, Shay has once again worked himself to the bone to ensure that the Tough Guy Book Club stays alive. He has orchestrated the move to online meet ups for the club, organised online social events and activities to enjoy while people are in isolation, and has even organised for fellow club members to help others that were hit economically by the pandemic.

Shay would say he is an ordinary guy. But he’s not. He is truly a local hero.

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