The story of ex-resident John Dempsey


This is John Dempsey.

John was a resident in our night shelter days. He was originally from Scotland and his mother could not cope with him and his sisters, as a result John and his two sisters ended up in an orphanage in Scotland. This orphanage was part of the scheme that sent children over to Australia to work on the farms etc. John was too young, but both his sisters got sent over and ended up staying in Australia where they both had a good life and were settled over there. Every now and again they would get in contact with him.

You would always end up learning things from John, one of our support workers had never heard of the scheme but ended up researching it and buying a book on it. He also taught people that there were many different species of bees and not just bumble bees and honeybees. John also loved trains and would often walk over to Coldhams common to watch the trains and be near the fishing lake.

On the surface he could appear to be a handful, especially when he had a drink, but when you actually spoke to him when he hadn’t had so much to drink he was a very gentle man who would always leave you searching the internet for something else he had mentioned.

Unfortunately, John left the shelter one morning and never came back, he lost his life by the railway line by Coldhams Common,

To this day he still missed and one of our rooms in Jimmy’s is named after John, this is called ‘The Dempsey Room’.