Exmouth rallies to help homeless Mark

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 May 2017

Mark was living on benches and in bus stations before the people of Exmouth came to his aid

Mark was living on benches and in bus stations before the people of Exmouth came to his aid

Archant

A homeless man has had his faith in humanity restored after the people of Exmouth rallied around to help.

The man, known only as Mark, who claims to have served in the army, had been sleeping on Exmouth’s benches and in seafront shelters until a chance meeting led to an outpouring of kindness.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Mark was given a safe place to sleep, and food and funds to get back on his feet.

The 53-year-old said he became homeless after his wife went into a hospice in Somerset, diagnosed with brain cancer; Mark found himself on the streets.

He made his way to see family in Devon. His only way of keeping warm was to travel on buses between Exeter and Exmouth.

When Mark Smith, from Exmouth, spotted the homeless man lying on a bench in The Strand, he set up a social media appeal to help.

Siobhan Carroll also stepped in and gave homeless Mark a temporary place to stay.

Mr Smith’s appeal led to scores of people from Exmouth rallying round, donating blankets, food, drink and warm clothes for the homeless man.

Mark said: “It was a bit of a shock and boosted my belief in human nature.”

The offer of a campervan to stay in came from a ‘chance-in-a-million’ meeting.

“It was starting to get quite cold again and I needed to get back on the bus to get warm,” said Mark.

“As I was getting on, I heard someone behind me ask if I was Mark.

“A woman said, ‘I am the lady that has a campervan that we don’t use. If you want, I have no problems with you staying in the campervan’.”

He has also had medical help for a leg injury, and support, through Exmouth’s Open Door Centre.

Mark told the Journal he had been homeless on and off for four years after leaving the services.

After marrying, he moved into his new wife’s flat, but claims it was in her name; he said he was told to leave last year while she underwent the care of the hospice.


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