'It's amazing to see so many people care' - Royston community pull together as homeless man welcomed into Steeple Morden home

PUBLISHED: 18:17 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 18:17 09 January 2017

John Cullen said he feels humbled by the offers from caring people from in and around Royston.

John Cullen said he feels humbled by the offers from caring people from in and around Royston.

Archant

The caring Royston community have pulled together to help a homeless man seen sleeping rough in the town last week after a young mum posted about it on Facebook.

Julie Knight has welcomed John into her home and hopes the authorities or a charity will help house him permanently. Julie Knight has welcomed John into her home and hopes the authorities or a charity will help house him permanently.

Bianca O’Ryan brought a big bag of Christmas food, warm socks and other supplies to John Cullen – who was sleeping in the doorway of Store Twenty One on Thursday.

She posted about it on the Royston Reporting page and was inundated with responses offering food and clothes. Julie Knight also got in touch to offer a spare room in her Steeple Morden home.

“It is heartbreaking because it’s so cold. When I first gave him the supplies he just said ‘God bless’,” said Bianca, who is mum to six-month-old Olivia and moved to Royston two years ago with partner Graham Swain.

As the offers of hot dinners, clothing and a room came flooding in, gestures were almost in vain as John went missing from his usual position on a freezing Saturday night.

Bianca O'Ryan and Olivia.Bianca O'Ryan and Olivia.

Bianca and other caring members of the community went out to look for him, and it was only the next day when John had reappeared they could tell him the good news.

John, 50, said he has been homeless for about a year and came to Royston after being beaten up and having his dog stolen in Stevenage.

Julie said: “I read about him on Facebook and thought it’s so cold, I thought ‘why shouldn’t I let him stay?”

This isn’t the first time 51-year-old Julie has helped someone in dire need, seven years ago she helped a neighbour who was living in squalor after the death of her husband.

“It landed me in hospital for triple pneumonia for six months, but I would do it again – I would help anyone,” she said.

Julie hopes the awareness of John’s plight will prompt the authorities or a charity into helping him get a permanent home.

“John doesn’t ask for anything, when he got here all he wanted was a hot bath, then he had a good sleep.

“He feels humbled by everyone’s offers, and he went to bed last night knowing he was safe, which is what we wanted.”

Bianca added: “I want to thank everyone who has got behind this, and has offered to help. It’s amazing to see that compassion isn’t dead, and so many people out there care.

“It costs hardly anything to buy a sandwich and a hot drink for someone on the streets, when we think of what we have and what they have, it’s nothing in comparison.”

Go to the Facebook page Royston Donation and Dinners for John to find out how to donate food or supplies.

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