Kind-hearted Belfast bus driver Paul launches Clothes for Christmas Appeal to help the homeless
The kind-hearted Belfast bus driver who made an unscheduled stop to help a homeless man along his route has launched a 'Clothes for Christmas Appeal' to help many more people forced to spend this festive period on the streets.
Paul Doyle captured the hearts of thousands, when he stopped his Metro 10H service to give a homeless man a winter coat with some food and cash.
He had spotted the young man sitting on the street on a previous run and wanted to give him something for the coming winter months.
He thought nothing more of it and went on with the rest of his route as planned.
But one of his passengers shared the heart-warming tale on Facebook and from there, thousands shared the story with the post going viral and making news headlines.
Paul, described as a "shy, easy going" person, later said he was embarrassed by the attention his gesture generated and never envisaged such a fuss.
He has now joined with his employer, Translink, radio station U105 and Hastings Hotel to encourage people to donate clothing to help those vulnerable people stay warm during the coldest time of the year.
The companies have teamed up with the the Council for the Homeless NI, the umbrella organisation for homeless groups and the SOS Bus, which provides help to those in need on the streets, for the Christmas Campaign.
What is needed:
- Jeans (32-34 waist)
- New underwear both mens and ladies
- Shoes, either trainers of boots between sizes eight and 11)
- Winter coats
- Warm hoodies and jumpers
- Toiletries including: toothbrushes / deodorant roll-ons / shampoo / shower gel / ladies sanitary products and hairbrushes
Where to donate:
- Belfast: Europa Hotel, Stormont Hotel, Belfast Central Station, Laganside Buscentre
- Co Antrim: Ballygally Castle, Antrim Bus & Rail Centre, Ballymena Bus Station, Carrickfergus Train Station
Co Down: Culloden Estate & Spa, Bangor Bus & Rail Centre, Downpatrick Buscentre, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Lisburn Train Station, Newtownards Bus Station
Londonderry: Everglades Hotel, Foyle Street Bus Station
Ricky Rowledge from the Council for the Homeless NI said: “Christmas can be a very difficult time for people separated from family and a home.
"Council for the Homeless NI and SOS Bus NI thank U105, Hastings Hotels and Translink not only for raising awareness of the problem of homelessness in NI but more importantly, encouraging us all to provide practical help through the Clothes for Christmas Appeal.”
Joanne Harvey, from Hastings Hotels said: “We were very touched when we heard about Paul Doyle’s recent gesture which really is the epitome of kindness.
"We all need to do our bit to help people who are less fortunate, especially at this time of year when the weather is at its worst.”
Peter McVerry, U105’s station manager said: “I’m delighted that Hastings Hotels and Translink, two of Northern Ireland’s leading companies, have come on board with U105 to launch the Clothes for Christmas Appeal.
"Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to put together such a wide list of locations for people to drop off their donations to. People can bring their donations to any six of the Hastings Hotels and ten of Translink’s stations.”
Translink’s Ciaran Doherty added: “Paul’s simple act of kindness for someone in need has touched the hearts of people right across the UK and further afield.
"He has helped to shine a spotlight on the serious issue of homelessness and raise awareness on how members of the public can help the most vulnerable in our society.
"Christmas is always a very busy time of year for us with people out shopping, visiting friends and family or heading to social occasions so we are encouraging our customers travelling by bus and train over the festive season to support the Clothes for Christmas Appeal - even a small donation can make a big difference."
If you need help contact:
- The Simon Community for free on 0800 171 2222
- The Welcome Organisation on 02890 240 424 or its outreach team: 078 9493 1047.