A homeless man who’s been sleeping in a tent in Queen’s Park has spread love to his new neighbours by clearing up the tennis club grounds.
Sadly, tents in the Brighton park have become a regular sight over the past few years as the homelessness crisis in the city has deepened.
Previously, concerns have been raised about rough sleepers leaving needles in bushes, particularly near the children’s playground which has previously become a magnet for drug users.
But John has proven that homeless people can make a valuable contribution to the community even without the security of a roof over their head.
Club secretary Pauline O’Reilly discovered John’s deeds when turned up for Sunday’s tennis tournament and was surprised to find that the area around the clubhouse had been significantly improved.
She said: “John, who has been sleeping by the tennis club, had got out a brush and swept all around the clubhouse, then cut the edges and weeded the steps.
“He said he’d been sleeping out there and just wanted to give something back, so three cheers for him.
“We had a quick whip round to give him a few pennies. He really did a wonderful job and it gladdens the heart that someone with so little should help us this way.”
Club member Clare Gravenell added: “I saw John, who has been sleeping rough outside the club house, sweeping the entire outside concourse area yesterday while I was taking some photos for the club website. Pauline suggested I offer him some refreshments so I took him some tea and biscuits and had a chat.
“He seemed very keen to work and clean up the outside area at the club. John told me he used to be in the army and through a terrible traumatic event he was unable to with deal, which still affects him today, he had become homeless.
“He spent over three hours happily working by sweeping and then re-shaping all the grass edges around the clubhouse, leaving it clean and tidy. I took some photos with his permission.
“It was clear to me he wanted to help others through doing odd jobs out of kindness and the need to be actively involved in something.”
Source: Queen’s Park Tennis Club website