Ride raises awareness of homeless

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A FORMER Royal Military policeman is riding and sleeping rough, around the coast of England and Wales this month has visited the borough.

Pete Stopforth is undertaking the 2,400 miles on a small scooter to increase awareness of homeless ex-service personnel and their plight.

Pete has chosen his route through seaside towns as this is where he believes many of the homeless can end up, as he did himself for three years, after ten years of military service.

He left the army in 1994 and had a traumatic time readjusting to civilian life. His behaviour resulted in him leaving home and his marriage to braking down.

“I lived in a caravan, a small boat and on an industrial estate during this time,” he said.

“At no point did I trudge the streets or live in a cardboard box, I just didn’t have an address or a permanent residence.

“In 2007 I had a breakdown and sat in a caravan without power, heating or mains water for over a week.

“I was alone, contemplating committing suicide and holding the means to do it in my hand.”

Pete has managed to pull himself back together and is now doing this ride to highlight how many other former servicemen and women find themselves homeless.

Now a case worker with SSAFA (Soldiers Sailors Airmen Families Association), Pete started at Ness point in Lowestoft on April 1, and called in at Wallsend last week on his way along Hadrian’s Wall.