Public asked to fill rucksacks for the homeless

Chris Conlin
Chris Conlin

Borough residents are being asked to donate rucksacks and shoeboxes full of essential items for rough sleepers in the wake of homeless man Chris Conlin’s death.

The public have been urged to “spare a thought for the homeless” this winter, and consider filling a shoebox or backpack with items such as warm clothing, toiletries, hygiene products and food.

The appeal poster

The appeal poster

The poster put up in Leigh town centre reads: “Don’t walk by thinking it’s not your problem. It is our problem! It’s our community.

“Let’s show we care about the people who live here.

“In memory of Chris, let’s not allow a tragedy like this to happen again.”

Chris died last week on his 31st birthday after falling ill in a Bradshawgate alleyway. Despite heroic efforts to save him from members of the public, who performed CPR until paramedics arrived, he later died on hospital.

He had recently spent two days in hospital suffering from a serious chest infection, but had reportedly been discharged when he started to response to antibiotics.

The request for donations to be made in his memory included tents and blankets, which appear to have come just in time after an impromptu tent village was dismantled by the council just days after Chris’s death.

The shelter had been set up in bushes off King Street, and Chris was believed to have spent time there himself.

Despite this, a wave of support and donations to the homeless has been felt across the borough since the tragic events.

An online group called Help The Homeless Leigh was set up as a direct result of Chris dying, and its members have been regularly helping out those living on the streets in the days since.

The group’s creator, Sharon Jolley, wrote: “I am creating this group in memory of a very king young man who unnecessarily lost his life due to the fact he was homeless.

“I plan to give up each Friday night when I can to take food and warmth to those that need our help.”

Their efforts have included delivering food and supplies as well as raising money by spending a night sleeping on the streets themselves. Two fund-raising pages were also set up to help pay for Chris’s funeral, one of which is on the verge of hitting its target.

Any generous donations to the shoebox appeal can be dropped off at the Spinners Arms pub on Firs Lane, Leigh.