TRIBUTES have been paid to homeless man Alan Walker who died in a shop doorway.
A Facebook page has been set up with more than 1,300 followers and 70 people attended a memorial celebration at the Salvation Army in Eastbourne on Wednesday.
Alan, a 55-year-old father of four, left Eastbourne where he had been for a number of years and was found dead in a shop doorway in Portsmouth last month. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
He was known as Big Dave and was often seen sitting on the benches at Banker’s Corner and outside the entrances to the Arndale Centre.
Details of his life before he moved to Eastbourne were revealed at his funeral in Worthing last week by his three daughters, and son called Dave.
Alan, originally from Liverpool, lived in Worthing and worked at the local hospital. He was fond of Formula One motor racing, liked to listen to Fleetwood Mac and was described as a man with a wonderful sense of humour who adored his family.
Alan was taken ill while working at the hospital and was unable to work.
His marriage broke down and he found himself living on the streets in Eastbourne. He was a regular at the Salvation Army in Langney Road which provides food, support and shelter for homeless people. He was also a regular at Rebourne Corner and made use of the services provided for rough sleepers.
Homeless workers believe he was told by police to move on from the town centre and he boarded the coastal train which stops at Portsmouth.
They say had he remained in Eastbourne, they would have noticed he was ill and may have been able to get him medical treatment.
Alan’s family had lost contact with him and had been searching for him for the last four years.
Two of his daughters penned poems for his funeral and songs from Fleetwood Mac were played while a slideshow of photographs was shown.
Alan’s family also attended the memorial service in Eastbourne on Wednesday and heard the Salvation Army’s Major David Squirrell describe him as a quiet and reserved gentleman who would be missed.
Several followers on Facebook say they remember him always smiling, sitting in doorways drinking tea and chuckling to himself.
Alan’s daughter Helen said, “He had a lovely send off, it felt like he was there watching us. I’m so proud to call him my dad.”