Homeless man to repay locals’ kindness with 24-hour charity bike ride

A homeless man who found support from the local community is hoping to pay them back by raising money for their Royal British Legion clubhouse.

Bob Oath, 32, was given a room at The Dorrington in Halstead, Essex, at the start of lockdown, joining a number of other homeless people at the hotel.

Having arrived with just 40p in his pocket, Mr Oath was forced to ask the community for help on Facebook, and they responded emphatically.

Bob Oath is raising money for his local Royal British Legion clubhouse in Halstead after the community supported him while he was homeless
(Bob Oath)

“The response I got from the people in Halstead was absolutely overwhelming,” Mr Oath told the PA news agency.

“I managed to feed all 14 people breakfast, lunch and dinner, they provided me a fridge freezer, a cooker, they brought fresh clothes round for everyone in the building.

“It got to the point where I didn’t need to ask for things anymore, I’d come home and there’d be bags of shopping left at my door.

“I wanted to do something back for them so I started doing little tasks around the town … as a thank-you for making me feel like a human again really.”

One of those tasks was to tidy up a nearby dog-walking field which had been left in a state of disrepair. The locals showed their appreciation by raising £350 for Mr Oath, which he is putting towards a deposit on a house.

But that is far from the end of Mr Oath’s story.

Bob Oath is raising money for his local Royal British Legion clubhouse in Halstead after the community supported him while he was homeless
(Bob Oath)

The 32-year-old has got a taste for community projects and charity now, and having started a bike club in Halstead, is taking on a 24-hour bike-riding challenge to raise money for the local Royal British Legion clubhouse.

“When my dad came out of the army he had severe PTSD, and the Royal British Legion helped him and he’s doing really well now,” he said.

“Over lockdown, he told me that his clubhouse down there took such a hit that they might actually be closing their doors, they simply can’t afford it.

“I thought: ‘There’s a Royal British Legion club here and it’s only a small town, I wonder what their situation’s like.’ So I popped in and they said: ‘We are struggling since the lockdown.'”

The challenge will see Mr Oath stay on his BMX bike for 24 hours, with no specific route, but a number of challenges to complete such as riding down the high street blindfolded.

“I’m not allowed to work, so I want to dedicate the rest of my life to raising money and doing little things like that,” he said.

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