WITHOUT actually knowing the gentleman many kind people of Eastbourne will remember Alan ‘Al’ - a rather robust, hairy, ruddy complexioned homeless person who spent his days sitting on the pavement outside the station, outside WH Smiths, on the bench at Banker’s Corner and on the bench at the corner of The Avenue.
He was a cheery though uncommunicative soul but his grunts in response to kindnesses were enough to know his appreciation.
Many kind people would buy him coffee, tea, sandwiches each day which obviously helped keep him alive.
He was a regular client at the Salvation Army in Langney Road, Oasis (Christ Church) and Fatfleshed (All Souls’ Church), all of whom provide food and support for the homeless people of Eastbourne.
Sadly we have learnt Al was moved on from Eastbourne and had only been in his new doorway in Portsmouth for a matter of days before he died of a heart attack.
His funeral service took place in Worthing attended by his family - three daughters and one son. They had been searching for their dad for the past four years.
He was given a grand ‘send off’ here in Eastbourne at a Memorial service attended by many people at the Salvation Army on April 13.
Al came from Liverpool then he moved to Worthing where he worked at the local hospital until his personal life fell apart.
Few of us know the other side of the lives of our homeless friends in Eastbourne but each one has their own sad story to tell and have only reached this stage of life through circumstances. No-one is exempt from such circumstances and but for the grace of God many more of us would be living this way today.
Al could never speak up for himself but I would like to personally thank the many kind people of Eastbourne who treated an innocent man with decency and respect.