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.