Before becoming a companion at Emmaus Greenwich, I was a gardener in Farnborough for 25 happy years. I loved the job and I still love tending to gardens now.
“I took on more and more work which led to me being out of the house for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this impacted my relationship with my wife and one day I decided to leave my marriage for good. Without a word to anyone, not even family, I packed up and left… I went missing for 10 years.
On leaving, I camped in thick woodland near Kingston, and made that home for five years while maintaining the gardens at a local community centre for the elderly. I enjoyed my life, but when I heard about Emmaus through a fellow ‘runaway’, I knew that would suit me better. I went to Emmaus Greenwich for an interview and moved in almost immediately.
One of the best things Emmaus encouraged me to do was get in touch with my sister. It had been a decade years since I’d last seen her, and in that time she had been to all of the Salvation Army hostels in the South trying to find me; I think she assumed I was dead. I wrote her a letter once I was settled in Greenwich and she phoned me up, in floods of tears. We now have a great relationship again.
My day-to-day involves working in the shop or driving the vans, I’m not fussy what jobs are given to me as long as I’m working. In my spare time, I enjoy doing sponsored walks for other homeless charities. My recent walk through London raised almost £300 for Street Souls, not bad for a man in his sixties!
I’d like the people who donate to Emmaus to know that I am grateful for being given a second chance at life. I have a lovely room, I am able to work and I can still lead an active social life – I love it here – my life is officially back on track.