A headteacher has praised four pupils who were photographed buying food for a homeless man on their way home from school.
Jack McGill, Cameron Turner-Neill, Charlie Hirst and 11-year-old Sam pooled their money to buy chocolate biscuits, water and cereal bars for the man after noticing he looked upset and unwell.
The boys, who attend Woodham Academy in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, spotted the man, aged about 50, sitting on a bench in the town centre and were concerned about him.
A passer-by photographed their act of kindness and posted it on Facebook, prompting widespread praise for the boys.
Cameron, 12, said:
“Jack went over to see if he was okay and sat down next to him. The man asked if he had had a nice day at school and they started chatting. He said he was from London and had been homeless for nine years.
“He was very nice and you could tell he was well educated.
“He used to be a joiner and a carpenter and lived in a flat but it got rented out. He has been walking around the country and had just walked from Stockton.”
The boys said the man had refused to take money from a pensioner who also tried to help and was reluctant to accept the food they bought.
“It’s important to help other people.”
Charlie, 11, said:
“I was upset when I saw him. It made me think I should be more grateful for the things I’ve got when I saw how grateful he was for those small things.”
“It has made me want to help my mum more and be more grateful because he doesn’t have a mum.”
Christine Forsyth, headteacher at Woodham Academy, said:
“At Woodham Academy we teach pupils to respect other people and this is a wonderful example of our children showing unconditional respect for another human being. We are really proud of them.”
On Facebook, one woman wrote: “Lovely to see. What lovely young lads to do such a good thing .”
Another posted: “And there it is to all you people out there that think all teenagers are all anti-social. Here are some fantastic boys. They are a credit to their parents.
Source – Northern Echo, 16 May 2015
A homeless man has been provided with food, blankets, warm clothing and temporary shelter by generous Berwick residents.
The plight of Daniel, a 29-year-old man sleeping rough in the town, was aired on Facebook by local resident Iain Mitchell.
The news quickly spread and many more people have since offered their support.
As a result, he was provided with four nights’ accommodation in Berwick, a sleeping bag, blanket, clothes, replacement trainers, food and drink.
Efforts are now being made to provide Daniel with a more permanent solution.
“The response has been unbelievable,” said Iain. “I never thought one post would show there are so many kind-hearted people out there. I’d just like to thank everyone for their help.”
He was prompted into action when he drove past the Aldi supermarket last Wednesday night and saw Daniel huddled up as the temperature dropped to -2C.
“I initially thought he was waiting for a lift but then I saw him again half an hour later so I went into the Shell garage and a lady there told me he was homeless,” said Iain.
“I went to get him a McDonald’s and a large cup of tea. The smile on his face to receive something as simple as food nearly brought me to tears.
“We got talking and I found out the few bags he had were all his worldly possessions. I realised what a nice person Daniel is as we shared a few jokes. I then thought this guy can’t stay out here all night so I got him some old trainers as the ones he was wearing were falling to bits and when I returned, another wonderful kind-hearted person had provided him with a quilt, clean towel, socks, boxers and other essentials.
“He didn’t even have a sleeping bag as his was wrecked due to the weather so this person provided Daniel with things to make sure he would stay dry and warm which hopefully would see him through the night.”
Iain’s facebook friends then secured accommodation. Although this was initially for one night, further helpers came on board and paid for four nights.
“I want to personally thank Cindy and Sarah who got the ball rolling and to Kerry Anne Bell who paid for extra nights and also to the other people offering to pay for more nights for Daniel, and people who brought food clothes and other essentials,” said Iain.
“I didn’t do anything anywhere close to what most have done, so you all deserve big thanks for such acts of kindness to help someone you don’t know.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 16 Jan 2015
The tragic drifter begged for a room for the night during the early hours of Friday morning, before returning to the storage area where he usually sleeps, his friend said.
But just hours later a blaze broke out in his regular sleeping spot, behind shops in Whitley Bay.
And after firefighters extinguished the flames a body was found.
Today Chris Parker has told how he will never forgive himself for sending his pal back out into the cold when he asked for somewhere to stay.
The 29-year-old said: “My friend came to see me and asked if he could stay at mine but I couldn’t let him. I really wish I had now.”
The dead man is thought to be a dad-of-one in his 40s. Chris said he lost his home and family after becoming an alcoholic.
He began to beg on the streets of Newcastle, and had recently started sleeping in the bin store in Whitley Bay to keep warm.
Chris met him when he too was sleeping rough in the town.
“He’s one of my best friends,” he said. “I used to live on the streets with him. He just fell out with his family and ended-up homeless.”
At around 2.30am yesterday morning, the man visited Chris in accommodation where he is staying, on South Parade. He told his friend he was cold and asked if he could come in to sleep.
Chris refused to let his pal inside fearing it would get him in trouble, but he gave him a jacket.
When Chris heard a man had been found dead after a fire behind Whitley Road he instantly suspected who it would be – and his worst fears were confirmed when he visited the scene and saw it was the place his friend used to sleep.
“He asked to stay at mine but I couldn’t let him,” he said. “But I gave him an extra jacket. He used to sleep on the beach and light fires to keep warm, so that’s probably what happened.
“He has been sleeping there for a while just to stay out the cold. I think he had a blanket and a mattress in there.”
Paying tribute to his pal Chris said: “He was just always smiling and joking about.”
Emergency services were called to the scene, behind a dentists between Whitley Road and Clifton Terrace, at around 6.20am on Friday morning.
The fire broke out in a bin storage area between the shops and a metal gate and people living nearby saw flames leaping into the air.
On Friday, the back lane behind the shops was cordoned off with police tape as uniformed officers stood guard.
A white tent covered the spot where the body was discovered, and forensics officers in white overalls could be seen at work.
Acting Chief Insp Andy Fairlamb, from Northumbria Police’s Major Crime Team, is now appealing for witnesses.
“Inquiries are in their very early stages in relation to this incident. Our officers are currently at the scene carrying out investigations to establish the circumstances surrounding it.
“I would urge anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact us as they may have information to assist with the ongoing inquiries.
“I’d also ask anyone with concerns to speak to officers on patrol in the area who are patrolling to offer reassurance to residents.”
Group manager Dave Jefferson, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, added:
“At 6.17 hours Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Control Room received a call regarding a fire in an outhouse at the rear of Clifton Terrace, Whitley Bay.
“Two appliances and crews from Tynemouth Community Fire Station attended. The fire was extinguished using one hose reel and positive pressure ventilation was used to clear smoke from the ground, first and second floors of a neighbouring property.
“During firefighting actions a casualty was found within the outhouse. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is working closely with Northumbria Police during the investigation of this incident.”
Anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 168 21/11/14.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 22 Nov 2014
A homeless man was seriously injured when thugs set fire to his sleeping bag in Newcastle’s Leazes Park.
The 51-year-old, who the Chronicle understands to be homeless, suffered serious burns and is receiving hospital treatment, his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Police are now appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened sometime last night.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Officers are carrying out inquiries into the incident and are asking any witnesses to come forward, in particular the man was helped by two passers by in the park and police are urging them to get in contact. Inquiries are being carried out to identify the offenders, who are believed to know the victim. Inquiries suggest this is an isolated incident.”
“Extra police will be in the park, both to carry out enquiries into the attack and also offer reassurance.”
Any witnesses should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 296 010714 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 01 July 2014
> Something we’re going to see more of in the near future if things continue on their present course…
A homeless man who flouted a court’s order urged magistrates to lock him up – so he has a hope of securing accomodation upon his release.
Andrew Foster told the probation service he wasn’t willing to comply with a 12-month community order handed out in February for offences of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress to a Police Community Support Officer and resisting a police constable in the execution of his duty.
The 31-year-old admitted breaching his order for the second time at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court by failing to turn up for pre-arranged appointments on April 2 and 9.
The probation service asked for the order to be revoked and for Foster to be resentenced.
The court heard that Foster, of no fixed abode, had shown no motivation to complete the order and told probation staff he didn’t feel able to comply with the requirements placed on him.
Michael Henderson, mitigating, said his client asked to be sent to prison as he ‘couldn’t cope’ with the outside world.
Mr Henderson said:”I’m sure some defendants would come before court and offer every excuse known to man as to why they haven’t complied and ask for a further chance – and essentially waste court time.
“Mr Foster is not doing that. He has drug and mental health problems and a lack of accomodation.
“He was made subject to this order and and fair play to him, he has not committed any more offences.
“He has not committed any more offences but he can’t cope on the outside.
“He has got nowhere to live and feels desperate.
“He feels the order he is on is very onerous.
“From his point of view he can’t comply and he knows this is the end of the road.
“He wants to go into prison and come out with a clean slate.
“He thinks if he goes into prison it will increase his chances of finding a place to live.
“He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Hopefully he can come out with a clean slate and hopefully get accomodation, sort out his drug issues and get himself working – that’s what he wants.”
Marian Craig, chair of the magistrates, said: “Obviously, from everything we have heard, you have got no intention of sticking to any programme the probation service may give you.
“We have no other option but to give you a custodial sentence.”
Foster was resentenced for his original offences and given six weeks for the charge of using threatening using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour offence and two weeks for the resist a police officer charge, making for a total of eight weeks in custody.
Source – Shields Gazette 06 May 2014