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The story of a homeless ex-serviceman and the former soldier who turned his life around

Former Royal Artillery gunner Phil Webb was sleeping on the streets, battling alcholism, and giving up on life after losing his job and the breakdown of his marriage. But a chance encounter with a good samaritan turned his life around.

Mr Webb told BBC TV’s Inside out ‘I didn’t want to commit suicide, but if I wouldn’t have woke up, I wouldn’t have been bothered. I felt pathetic, well I was pathetic.

‘And I went in the archway and just sat with my head down, because I didn’t want people to see me and I didn’t want to see anybody else.’

That was when Stephen Findlayson, a former soldier himself walked past.

“I went up and just asked him: ‘are you alright’? He kind of just said ‘yeah, I’m alright’. I left it at that and maybe got 20m down the road and I thought ‘no, I can’t leave him lying there’,” he said.

“I’ve seen that look before and that’s when you know someone’s at rock bottom. He doesn’t need food; he doesn’t need a drink; he doesn’t need a sleeping bag. He needs someone to pick him up and take him somewhere where he’s going to be a lot safer than on the streets,”

Mr Webb taught sociology before his marriage fell apart, lost his job, and turned to alcohol. But Stephen put him up in a B&B and got the Royal British Legion involved, who helped get him a permanent home and rebuild his life. He is now studying IT and doing and voluntary work, and his story has been told on stage in a play, Wor Stories.

 

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