Former homeless man spreads Christmas cheer to rough sleepers in Leamington

James Hilling buying gloves, hats and scarves for the homeless.
James Hilling buying gloves, hats and scarves for the homeless.

A former homeless man dedicated his time to spreading Christmas cheer to those sleeping rough in Warwickshire.

James Hilling, who lives in Southampton, is currently working in Leamington for security firm Security Nation, which is a UK-wide company.

James Hilling collecting gloves, hats and scarves for the homeless.

James Hilling collecting gloves, hats and scarves for the homeless.

A few years ago Mr Hilling found himself homeless and also had a drug addiction.

After sorting himself out, Mr Hilling, who has been clean for 17 years, now dedicates his spare time during the year to help the homeless.

He said: “I normally spend my Christmases in Southampton helping the Society of St James, the charity that helped me when I was homeless. I am working in Leamington at the moment and I will be here until March. I wanted to continue my work for the homeless so I called several agencies in the area and they pointed me to the Leamington night shelter.”

After a few phone calls with the night shelter, it was decided that to help Mr Hilling would collect gloves, hats and scarves.

James Hilling collected 200 items for the homeless.

James Hilling collected 200 items for the homeless.

He said: “I had saved up money throughout the year and the company I work for matched the amount I had and so I had a total of £500. I went to Mountain Warehouse, Trespass and Poundland and I bought around 200 items.

“I then went out on December 23 to hand out some of the gloves, hats and scarves to the homeless people on the streets of Leamington, Warwick and Stratford.

“On Christmas Day I went to the shelter in leamington with the rest of the items and spent the evening with them. The important thing is that everyone got a new pair of gloves.”

Mr Hilling is hoping that his actions will inspire others. He said: “I want to encourage others. I am trying to get lots of local businesses to come together to do something for their community.”