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Kindness of a stranger helps homeless Norwich man get life back

PUBLISHED: 06:33 19 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:08 04 March 2019

Twenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Pictured with Rachel Collington, left who helped Abbi. Photo: Steve Adams

Twenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Pictured with Rachel Collington, left who helped Abbi. Photo: Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

A man who was busking on the street in Norwich just five days ago starts a new job today after turning his life around thanks to the generosity of strangers.

Twenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Photo: Steve AdamsTwenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Photo: Steve Adams

Shylow Murphy, 20, was sleeping rough on Mousehold Heath and busking in Prince of Wales Road, not knowing where his next meal would come from.

But now, thanks to the kindness of a woman who could not just walk by, he now has his life back after starting work as a street fundraiser with accommodation to go with the new role.

Abbi helped Shylow find a new job and accommodation, and launched a Facebook campaign, which saw people donate money and help treat him to a makeover as he looked forward to his new life.

Shylow, who has been sofa surfing and trying to find refuge wherever he could since coming to Norfolk a couple of years ago, said he owed it all to Abbi, who, up until a few months ago, was a complete stranger.

Twenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Photo: Steve AdamsTwenty year old Shylow Murphy who is putting his homeless life behind him after being befriended by Abbi, who through her caring nature and a Facebook campaign has got him back on his feet. Photo: Steve Adams

Describing Abbi, 25, as “a godsend to my life” and “wonderful”, Shylow said: “We met down Prince of Wales Road when I was busking. She bought me food, asked me my name and how I was and how I was doing. I really appreciated that because not many people were like that down there.”

The memory of the young homeless man who Abbi said could have been “anyone’s son, or brother or friend” lingered with her and when she saw him again in the city last week, wearing a tatty pair of jogging bottoms, she decided to act.

Abbi, a web analyst, who lives near Carrow Road, in Norwich, bought Shylow a new pair of jogging bottoms before sitting down with him and helping him to find a fresh start in life.

She said: “We went to get a coffee and I said: ‘What do you want’? He said he wanted to help homeless people, but just wanted a job and a place that he could go home to that was warm, and to get himself back on his feet. I said: ‘Right, let’s get on then.’”

Abbi put a posting on Facebook at the start of last week with the campaign striking a chord with so many people that it had raised more than £800 in just five days.

Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy’s wife Laura was one of those to donate after hearing about the campaign while she was getting her hair cut in the city.

Abbi then set about trying to get Shylow a job and found an application for a fundraiser, which included accommodation that she thought would be “perfect” for her new friend and made him call the number.

She said: “I wanted him to do it for himself because I wanted him to feel that he had achieved it and hadn’t been given it.”

After he was successful in getting an interview, Abbi’s friends, including Rachel Collington, helped supply him with clothes while the Egg hair salon in Lower Goat Lane provided him with a complimentary haircut after hearing about the campaign.

Shylow, who landed the job, said he was so grateful to everyone who had helped, but particularly to Abbi.

He said: “I’m just so happy now. I’ve broken out of my shell again. I’m out here again and can be myself, and don’t have to carry 35kg on my back every day and feel rubbish.”

He added: “If there is anything that people can do for homeless people, do it. If you do then you will see them rise.”

Abbi said: “I just can’t believe it. I feel so proud of him.”

Have you got a heart-warming story to share with readers? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

 

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