Left out in the cold: Vigil for Chelmsford’s Rob O’Connor

A sombre occasion

“Nowhere near enough is done to support people sleeping rough”

People in Chelmsford last Friday (March 2) paid their respects to homeless man Rob O’Connor, who was found dead behind the shutters in the doorway of the former Argos store in the city centre seven days earlier, after a very cold night.
Despite the sub-zero temperatures and falling snow, around fifty local people attended the vigil at the scene of the Springfield Road tragedy.
They heard from the Cool to be Kind organiser Brian McGovern, and a poem about homelessness was read out by Emma Hughes, trustee of Sanctus, the Broomfield Road based charity that provides support to homeless people in the city. Black ribbons were then tied to a tree outside the empty store, while live music was played.
Mr McGovern said: “Firstly somebody died on our streets, needlessly in our mind, and secondly we wanted to highlight the plight and stand in solidarity with other rough sleepers that have been left.”
Mr McGovern said nowhere near enough is done to support people sleeping rough.
He continued: “The shelters that are available wouldn’t have accepted Rob, because he had addiction problems. Despite the fact he had very poor health, he had cancer. The whole of the community has been shocked and saddened by this needless death.
Cool to be Kind Chelmford runs the annual winter Rucksack Project, which collects donations of rucksacks, clothing, and other essential items, and distributes the donations to homeless people across the county. The public can reach it via its Facebook page.


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