A former soldier who was discovered sleeping rough in a bin has got his life back on track – and now he has shaken the hand of the man who helped him in his hour of need.
Kevin Arscott, 30, was made homeless after his relationship broke down and he was forced to live off the land in Wendover Woods for around a month between October and November.
The former Grenadier Guard had visited several countries while serving in the army – including the jungles of Belize – and used the skills learned in training to survive when all he had were just the clothes on his back.
He said: “I used twigs, foliage and bin liners threaded through to make a waterproof shelter and I built fires to keep warm.”
When asked what he ate to survive, he said: “Let’s just say there are a few less rabbits in Wendover Woods now!”
But with winter closing in, the weather took a turn for the worse and in desperation, Kevin took shelter from the rain in the wheelie bin at the Cafe in the Woods in Wendover Woods.
It was while he was sheltering in there from the elements that he was discovered by cafe owner Jon Warbrick.
Jon, who has owned the woodland cafe for eight years, said: “I went to empty the cardboard into the recycling bin and when I opened the lid, I saw this head poking out.
“I said ‘are you OK mate?’ and then I got him to come inside for a hot chocolate and a bacon buttie.
“It just seemed like he was having a bit of a rough time, and everything had turned against him.
“It became clear when we were talking that he had so much to give, so I persuaded him to let me get him some help. I think he’s a real hero.”
Jon’s kind-hearted actions led Kevin to the Aylesbury Homeless Action Group in the town centre, which arranged temporary accommodation.
And now after working with military charity Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA), Kevin is looking forward to moving into his own rented room in Aylesbury in early January.
The 30 year old – who was discharged from the army six years ago on medical grounds – is now volunteering at The Vineyard Church in Gatehouse Close, which he calls his ‘happy place’.
He and Jon met again on Monday and Kevin was able to thank him properly. Jon said: “It’s really nice to see Kevin in a better place helping others.”
Kevin said: “Volunteering here gives me some value as a person. Don’t be ashamed about asking for help.
“You can have the food made for you but no one can spoon it in to your mouth. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Kevin is now looking forward to the future – he wants to get a job as a fitness instructor and hopes to one day get married and have a family.
In October, the Bucks Herald published an article about a woman living rough in Wendover Woods.
The police have since confirmed that the vulnerable woman was taken to a ‘safe place’ after officers became concerned for her welfare.