Written by Mary - helped and supported by The Pilion Trust
It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks and I will be sixty five…. Years have come and gone and I have lost the track of time. It’s what happens to you when you live day to day, hand to mouth and concerned only if I wake up tomorrow. I am one of the remaining ‘Bull Ringers’ famous for being homeless in Waterloo some 15 years ago. Most of the peoplehave gone now….. Lost their lives needlessly.
I am a mother and a grandmother (I think), but do not judge me!... I was born in East London. My mother and father I never knew. I was taken away from my mother as so many children were in those days and placed in an orphanage, even though I wasn’t an orphan.
Years came and went and no-one wanted to adopt me. No one to love me, care for me and even to help me. So I became angrier and bitter as years went by. By sixteen I was old enough to fend for myself said the Social Worker who I had only seen once a year and didn’t know if it was the same woman each year. Released from Care I was on the streets.
Met a fella who seemed nice enough. Caring, happy and sweet.Ended up marrying him and we moved to Croydon. It was happy times being a young house wife looking after my husband, having a family. I even got a job. A couple of years later my first daughter arrived and two years later my second. I was twenty with 2 children and a caring man by my side. I never realised how expensive it would be to raise a family with one salary!!!
But it dawned on my very quickly when the man I thought was caring started blaming me for things. This blame turned violent and physical against me. Then one day after a beating that landed me in hospital, I found myself deciding not to return to that man and went on the streets.
I have lived in many Boroughs, streets and parks over the years. I have met many people wanting to ‘help me’, but it wasn’t until one cold night in January 07, that I met Savvasand Jamie. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t trust or believe them. I was very rude actually. But night after night they came by where I slept with a couple of others and chattered and brought me food or tea.
Over the months, I watched them work with the others I knew, and, these guys were different. They listened!!! We build up respect and trust towards each other and then Savvas informed me that Aston would become my new Worker as Savvas had to run the charity now. Aston to was very gentle and supportive. These guys fought for me, (not in that way) but against the social, housing, benefits.
They found me solicitors (Dana is her name) and they got meallocated some temporary housing. Off the streets,first time in 6 years. Christmas 2007, a room with no food, bedding, telly etc. They went out and found me a tree, bedding, pillows etc... Merry Christmas and happy 2008 to me!!!!!
It didn’t last long….. Aston moved on in the new year and this upset me, but Savvas being Savvas he found me a new Worker by the name of Pattie. I made her work hard to build my trust and faith in her. She too was special and soon instead of arguing with her we had to unite. You see someonehad taken my ID and NI years earlier and was claiming benefits in my place and I didn’t know it.No money, no benefits, no housing….
Islington were about to evict me from my little room which had become my home because of fraud. I found myself again not being believed, trusted and gossip behind my back. But Pilion and Pattie believed me, they stayed strong helping me, they were always there….The stress and injustice makes me want to run away again but Pattie and Savvas challenge me to stay and fight. I thought about it and how much longer could I keep running and decided to stand my ground for the first time in my life.
Believe me this was hard! After 64 years of let downs, abuse, violence, assaults, sexual stuff, I had to trust these guys and stand firm. Another solicitor Azad was to take my case against the social and benefits department of DWP.
I am proud of what I have achieved. I have taken on the services that failed me all my life and now I am about to find my safety and home. If it wasn’t for the Pilion, Savvas, Aston and Pattie and all the people they found tosupport me I think I would have looked forward to dying on the streets on London.
Why? Why me? No-one ever cared enough to love and look after a little girl who was alone. This child turned bitter and nasty because of the system and what society did to her.
Today this little girl stands a proud woman. I help out at a number of churches in Islington and Camden making sure others have a better journey in their life than I did. Ifound my mother (who didn’t want anything to do with me) and recently I found my daughters who do want to meet me. They also tell me I am a granny!
My journey is just beginning…………….
Do not forget the less fortunate as we are not bad people, just bad things have happened to us. Please help and support charities like the Pilion and don’t forget me… My name is Mary.
Also on Freshties 1st of 2 http://www.freshties.com/index.php?action=newspaper&subaction=article&toDo=show&postID=1157