A homeless man who now has a place to stay and a job after a remarkable surge of goodwill from Melton people says the transformation in his life is ‘like a Christmas movie’.
Michael Peaks, who is 45, was sleeping rough in doorways in the town after being forced out of Lincoln, Leicester and Grantham because of aggressive behaviour against him and being targeted by drug pushers .
Life looked bleak for him in the run-up to Christmas with temperatures plummeting.
That was until Shane Sharkey spotted him while playing snooker at the King Street club and took him a cup of tea.
They chatted and Shane was so moved he posted on Facebook about Michael’s desperate plight.
The reaction was incredible, with dozen of comments from people sympathising and offering to help.
The upshot is, he now has a home in the Nottingham Road area of Melton, and a job at a local garage.
Michael told the Melton Times: “It’s like something out of a Christmas film – the sort of thing you see in a movie.
“It’s overwhelming what’s happened to me.”
Michael, who recently had a spell in prison and has ended a drugs habit, has been sleeping rough for 30 years but he finally feels at home.
He added: “It’s a place I want to stay, because it’s friendly in Melton.
“People have given me a second chance and I am trying to change.”
Shane said he had felt guilty walking past Michael several times before going to speak to him that night.
He said he was touched that Michael had stopped him from sitting on the cold pavement and that he had offered him one of his biscuits as they chatted over a cup of tea.
When he posted on the Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page later that evening he wasn’t prepared for the response it sparked.
“There was comment after comment from people offering him a room and offering to paint the room and provide furniture for it,” said Shane.
“It’s been absolutely astounding - it has changed his life. Us Meltonians are so down on ourselves sometimes, but this has shown that there is a real community spirit.”
Nigel Keep first became aware of Michael 10 weeks ago when he was sleeping rough in the doorway of the former toy shop opposite his cafe, 54A King Street.
They became friends and he often came in for a cup of tea and customers bought him bacon sandwiches.
He was there when a woman came in saying she heard he was homeless and she had a spare room he could have.
Nigel said: “ It’s a such a fantastic story. What Shane did when he first went and spoke to Michael was brilliant and what has happened shows the power of social media.”
Michael this week started a full-time job with Witham Garage in the town preparing and valeting cars.
Manager Graham Limbrick said: “We’ve given him a hand-up, not a hand-out, and he is keen to take this chance.”