Article by Tommy Wathen: Richard suffers from possible PTSD and was living on the streets with nothing.
How many times have you walked down a high street in Essex and passed someone that is homeless?
There might be several reasons behind why someone ends up on the streets, including losing their job, the breakdown of a relationship or ill health.
Earlier this week, Essex Live reported the news that Billericay Town’s multimillionaire owner Glenn Tamplin had generously picked two homeless men off the streets of Billericay and offered them accommodation and full time work.
One of those is 56-year-old Richard Young, who spoke about his incredible life in the Royal Air Force and how he unfortunately came to be living on the streets in Billericay.
“In 1979, I was about 17 and I joined the Royal Air Force as a flight line mechanic. I proudly served for eight years on what I feel, in my humble opinion, is one of the best aircrafts in the world and that was the Harrier Jump Jet. I spent all my nine years serving in a couple of squadrons, including the number three squadron, in which I served in Germany, Gutersloh, down in the Falklands and countless other places. It was a fantastic time in my life. Upon leaving the Royal Air Force in 1988, I joined the Docklands Light Railway, where I spent 26 and a half very happy years as a railway technician fixing the trains."
“I have one son, John, and he is a very proud father to Macie, by granddaughter, and they live in Chelmsford. I’ve been through two marriages and I’m currently not considering marriage number three – let’s put it that way. I’ve mentioned my air force story before, especially down in the Falkland’s. I won’t go into detail but I saw things down there and people have mentioned Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over the years, I’ve always thought no, but I’m not so sure now. Now I’m older and wiser, I do feel like I suffer from that to a little degree. That probably didn’t help, but I also had a battle with the bottle and depression because of my marriage going wrong. We decided to split up and sell the house and I ended up with nothing. I was living in Leigh-on-Sea at the time, before I ended up in Southend-on-Sea just down the road, which was where my story started two and a half years ago. I’ve been helped over the years by some fantastic charities, Family Mosaic and HARP, who have very much helped me, but there comes a time when you have to engage again and you have to do it yourself.”
Whilst on the streets, Richard moved to Billericay and took up a regular post outside the One Stop shop near Costa Coffee and admitted that he became used to that style of life.
“After a while, you start getting used to things. You start getting used to the fact that you’re your own boss, you can go away at 3am in the morning to go and see another street people and you almost become feral. Once you lose things like your mobile phone, your house, your car, friends and family, yes it hurts, but after a while, no it doesn’t. You get used to not having money. You might see a nice car go past and think yeah that’s a nice car but so what? I don’t look at Glenn and think that he is a millionaire – so what?” I look at him as a human being who is king enough to say that he is going to help me out. It has taught me a lot of things. Every day is different and every night is different. There are some very good people on the streets and there are some very nasty people.”
When asked about the moment Glenn, along with his wife Bliss, kindly offered him accommodation and a job, Richard admitted that it only took him half a second to gratefully accept the offer.
“First of all, he asked me if I am really homeless and I said that I was 100 per cent homeless and he said that he was going to make me an offer of accommodation to get me off the streets and the offer of a job. He asked whether I was up for it and I thought about it for about half a second before I said yes. It just doesn’t happen does it? And I never thought in a hundred years that it would happen to me. I think it is fantastic of Glenn and people like him that they can see people struggling with problems and they are willing to help. I look at him as a decent man; a very decent man. I will repay him and the only way I will repay him is over time as he will get to know me and know that I am trustworthy and that’s the only way that I can repay his kindness.”
Article by Tommy Wathen, Essex Live