It’s a story with more than a hint of Christmas tradition. Someone desperate for somewhere to stay and an innkeeper finding him a stable.
And to stretch the biblical metaphor further, it took some good Samaritans to save the day.
After last week’s article about the plight of homeless Bob Peace, the community has rallied together to help him shelter in a stable for Christmas.
The 66-year-old former plasterer and railway worker reckons he’s been on the road for the past ten years or more. Originally from Wolverhampton, he arrived in Warwick a few weeks ago and began sleeping in an alleyway on the Forbes estate.
That was where Stacy Green and Jayne Blackburn first saw Bob, lying on strips of damp cardboard near Longfellow Avenue.
They began taking him hot drinks and some food. Slowly, the two mums, both aged 41 and close friends since they were pupils at Aylesford School, gained Bob’s trust.
On Sunday, thanks to the power of social media, and a little help from Courier readers, the polite gentleman of the road who fell on hard times after getting into financial problems, moved from the streets to the temporary shelter of an old stable at the back of the Foresters Arms near Warwick Racecourse.
Stacy, who last week asked Courier readers for help in clearing out the stable, said: “Every day people in the town centre saw Bob pulling a shopping trolley round the streets carrying all his worldly belongings, including a dog-shaped hot water bottle he found on a skip.
“But every night he came back to sleep in an alleyway at the bottom of my road, huddled up against a fence.”
Jayne, who lives in nearby Masefield Avenue, added: “Bob didn’t complain and was usually so polite, calling us both Ma’am at first. We felt so sorry for him in such cold weather.
“When Stacy first appealed on Facebook for help, people started offering warm clothing. Then the landlord of the Foresters’ Arms said Bob could sleep in a disused stable at the back of the pub - but it was full of rubbish.
“When we asked Courier readers for help, Stacy’s phone didn’t stop ringing for days.
“We were offered blankets, duvets, kettles, a pop-up tent - so many things that Bob told us to donate most to the charity shops to do somebody else some good.
“All our neighbours, Sue Parks, Sharon Whittle, so many have been so kind. And on Saturday James Barnsley, the boss of a Warwick tyre firm, brought a lorry down to help clear the rubbish.”
Bob himself moved in on Sunday, with a bed supplied by the pub and a mat on the cobbled floor.
He said: “When I slept in the alley a little seven-year-old girl who regularly passed by with her mum gave me a Christmas card. Inside she wrote that she was asking Santa for a house for me!”