A homeless man whose tent was burned by youths, has been offered a new job.
“I was in a very low place, my life fell apart,” said Tony Newman , who was forced to live in woods in Tameside, Greater Manchester after losing his job as a truck driver.
The moment the 51-year-old was offered a new post has now gone viral online. Mr Newman appeared lost for words and starts to well up as he realises he is being given a potential fresh start.
Bosses at Premier Waste Services, based in Hyde, asked Mr Newman to take a post as yard operator after meeting him at a homeless charity.
Manager Craig Perry told The Independent he took the chance because “everyone deserves a break in life”.
He said: “We had the opportunity to help Tony turn his life around and we wanted to pursue that. He’s got a good attitude. I’m sure he’ll fit right in.”
Reflecting on the new chance, Mr Newman said: “I’m excited, I’m nervous. It’s so lovely. I don’t want to get it wrong. I just can’t believe it’s happened. I feel blessed.”
The pair were first introduced at the headquarters of Manchester’s Sandwich Angels – which feeds the homeless.
The former truck driver was volunteering after the charity had helped him get a new tent when his first was destroyed.
Founder Christina Howard said: “When I first met Tony, he was really down and out. I started giving him food parcels. I said to him ‘what is your dream?’ Dreams can come true. Without a dream we have got nothing at all.
“I was crying when he was given the news, all of us were. We were crying with happiness. He’s so wonderful.”
The number of rough sleepers in Greater Manchester has gone up by 40pc in 12 months. Just seven people were recorded as sleeping rough in the city centre in 2010 – compared to 94 this year.
Tameside has also seen a particularly dramatic increase, however, with figures more than doubling from 19 last year to 43.