A FUND in memory of homeless man Dale James is being launched by Stafford charity House of Bread.
And organisers say they have been “overwhelmed” by the response from local people since his story was featured in the Newsletter.
Donations to the fund will be used to provide other people in need with the deposit money required to get them into housing.
Meanwhile the charity - which helped Mr Dale during the last 18 months of his life when he was living on the streets, and is organising his funeral after he died, aged 55, in a Cannock nursing home - has managed to trace his remaining family.
His mother Maureen, aged 86, is now living with his brother Richard in Sevenoaks, Kent, and is too frail to travel to Stafford for the funeral at Stafford crematorium at 12.30pm tomorrow, Friday June 20. His brother is currently recovering from a broken leg and is also unable to travel.
However, the family is covering the cost of the funeral - meaning that House of Bread can put donations received towards a lasting legacy for Mr James.
“Often the lack of a few hundred pounds prevents folk who might be unlikely to be regarded as valued tenants from getting into accommodation,” House of Bread director Will Morris said.
“The Dale James Deposit Trust scheme - a working title - will work by paying the deposit up front, with a repayment scheme at a level the person can manage.”
Mr Morris said the charity had also discovered more about Dale’s life after his story was featured in last week’s Newsletter.
“We have had calls from friends and neighbours who knew Dale from his childhood right up to when he was in his 40s,” Mr Morris said. "We are now hoping that quite a few friends and colleague will come to his funeral, and all are welcome."
Mr James worked for GEC Alstom and GEC Measurements in Stafford as a publicity officer in the 1970s and 80s, a high-profile role. “He was very popular indeed, with a wicked sense of humour, very clever and with a very generous, giving nature,” Mr Morris said.
He added that Mr James' life fell apart after an operation for a frontal lobe brain tumour when he was in his 30s, which left him struggling to control his moods and coping with lasting ill-health.
"He was given a year to live after his brain tumour, but in fact lived for another 23 years," Mr Morris said. "He realised that he was not the man he used to be, and I think he grieved for his old life."