Homeless Man Laid Down To Sleep On Christmas Eve And Never Got Up Again; Shift Leader Ros Ponder Reports

On Christmas Eve, a homeless man died under a blanket at a packed shelter, despite the desperate efforts of other rough sleepers to save his life.

The man, called Christopher and aged in his 60s, had laid down on the floor of the London-based shelter’s sleeping area, surrounded by around 130 others and he “never got up again”.

A devastated Crisis worker broke the news of his death to volunteers and other homeless people, telling them he “gently” passed away of natural causes.

She said paramedics, police, volunteers and fellow guests had battled to save Christopher and respect his dignity after he was found under the blanket but despite their best efforts, he sadly lost his life.

Shift leader Ros Ponder said: “No one should be taking their last breath in a place like this – on the floor of a sports hall, in a makeshift dormitory shared with 130 other people who had nowhere else to go.”

Ros, who was working at the Christmas homeless shelter, called The Gate, shared the heartbreaking incident on Facebook on New Year’s Eve.

In the early hours of Christmas Day, Ros had taken to Facebook to describe how Jeremy Corbyn had paid a visit to the shelter, with a gift.

She said the Labour leader had presented her with a box of chocolates, before chatting to volunteers and rough sleepers, some of whom he knew by name.

She wrote: “One of the most difficult days I’ve ever had at Crisis ended with an unannounced visit from Jeremy Corbyn, who wandered into our shelter on his own (without media or any entourage) and presented me with a box of chocolates!

“He then spent time chatting to volunteers and guests, some of whom he recognised and remembered by name from other homeless services.

“On a simple, human level that’s pretty impressive.”

In another post, the shift leader explained how The Gate shelter caters “specifically to rough sleepers with drug and alcohol dependencies”.

She said: “In fact, we’re the only shelter that allows our guests to bring alcohol indoors as some simply wouldn’t come in off the street without it.”

Ros’s post about Christopher’s death has been shared nearly 4,000 times since it was uploaded to the social network on Sunday evening.

Read More: Additional 8,000 Children Become Homeless in UK Since Last Year: Charity Shelter

The charity’s rough sleepers centres in London were open 24 hours and provided sleeping facilities for guests from either December 22 or 23 until December 30.

They included The Gate – “for those with alcohol or drug dependencies” – as well as the Outreach, Link, Winters and Women’s rough sleepers centres.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, told Mirror Online: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that on the morning of Christmas Eve, 2017, we lost one of our guests. Christopher, a man in his 60s, died peacefully in his sleep at a Crisis at Christmas centre in London, where he’d been receiving hot food, warmth and companionship.

“Fellow guests raised the alarm with volunteers at around 11am.

“Staff immediately called paramedics who arrived swiftly and did everything they could to save his life. However, Christopher was tragically pronounced dead from natural causes.

“Christopher died peacefully, in a warm and safe environment under the care of our staff and volunteers.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our volunteers who looked after Christopher with great care and dignity when he came in off the streets, and acted calmly and respectfully in what was an extremely difficult situation.

“We would also like to send out a huge thank you to paramedics and the police for their compassion and professionalism.”

He added: “It’s simply horrifying that the average age of death for a homeless person in Britain is just 47.

“Living on the streets is extremely dangerous and rough sleepers face unbearably hostile conditions, including freezing temperatures and little access to medical services.

“As well as opening centres at Christmas, where homeless people can get some respite from the harsh reality of the streets and access vital services, we are determined to put an end to this tragic injustice once and for all.”

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