Wigan mum helps buy homeless man a caravan
Ali Webb, from Platt Bridge, first met Mark Sherrington, a rough-sleeping Big Issue seller, in Sheffield when she went to the city for a night out.
But when someone started following her while she walked back to her hotel room, Mark, 47, and his two dogs came to her aid, scaring off the man and making sure Ali got home safe.
The pair stayed in touch but Ali was devastated to learn last month that Mark had been forced to give up his regular selling pitch because of his dogs.
So in a bid to help, she set up a GoFundMe page and has since raised enough to buy a second hand caravan for Mark to live in.
She said: “There was a piece on news about how Mark had been told he couldn’t have his pitch anymore even though he had been there for four months because of his two dogs.
“So he had to move but this has cost him a lot of money.
“I have known him quite a while. I met him in Sheffield last year. I had been on a night out but got into a bit of trouble, someone was following me and Mark came to my rescue with his dogs.
“He walked me back to my hotel and I gave him my number - I wrote it in the book he was reading - so he could keep in touch and he rang me the next day from a pay phone to check I had got home safely.
“After he was on the news there was a lot of goodwill around and people wanting to donate money so I thought I should set it up because I knew him and could make sure the money actually got to him. Initially we wanted to raise enough for a security deposit on a home for him but we weren’t able to reach our target.
“So instead we’ve got him a caravan which we took over to Sheffield for him on Saturday. The response was amazing and we raised more than £500. We did want to raise more but because of the weather getting so much colder we didn’t want to wait any longer.”
As well as the caravan, Ali has been filling it with essentials such as pots and pans to make sure it is comfortable new home for Mark, who currently sleeps in a tent.
Ali said: “We are in the process of helping Mark join the Caravan Club so that he can stay on one of their sites but it takes a few weeks so in the meantime he will stay at a traveller site.
“I have been worried sick about him. He has been sleeping in a tent for the past 12 months but it is so cold now. Mark can’t believe what has happened and he wants to say a big thank you to everyone who donated.
“He really thought he was going to die in the street. It wasn’t the home we wanted to get him but it will be life-changing for him to have somewhere to get clean, he will be able to look for work. It will be a chance for him to turn his life around. It means he can apply for jobs and have somewhere to receive replies.
“He has two dogs and he probably wouldn’t be alive without them because they sleep in the tent with him and their body heat probably stops him freezing to death.
“They are incredibly well looked after.
“He won’t eat unless the dogs have been fed.”
Ali would like to thank everyone who donated, especially the 3D charity shop, Don’t Dump, Donate which let Ali come in and collect any other items they needed for Mark.
To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/get-mark-home-this-winter.