Homeless Jay “determined to turn his life around”

Jay Colderick. Picture: Marc Astley

Jay Colderick. Picture: Marc Astley - Credit: Archant

He’s a familiar face on the streets of Sidmouth but few people will know that Jay Colderick was just a few years ago living the high life as a tailor on London’s Bond Street.

Relationship issues and a decline into drug addiction resulted in him losing his family, his home and his job.

In a desperate attempt to flee the temptations that led to his decline, he jumped on a train, not knowing exactly where he was heading, and found himself in Devon.

For the past few years he has been scraping money together begging opposite Wendy’s House in Old Fore Street.

As soon as he has enough money, he books into and B&B or hotel but otherwise he spends his life on the streets.

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However, the 30-year-old is now clean from drugs and determined to turn his life around.

He said: “I came to Sidmouth as I thought it was somewhere that would make it easier not to be tempted back to my old ways.

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“I had a really good life until things took a turn for the worst. I made suits, skirts, blazers and cashmere jackets for a range of clients.

“I’ve been clean of drugs for six months now and I’m working towards getting back on my feet.

“My ultimate goal is to give something back to the community by becoming some sort of guidance counsellor to stop kids ending up this way.”

Life is currently tough for Jay though. He was recently attacked by a group of travelling beggars after he intervened when they were aggressive towards an elderly shopper on his patch.

He said: “I spotted these guys frightening the public and I suggested they should return to Exeter where they had been previously.

“Pretty soon after that they grabbed an elderly woman who had a cast on her arm. She was quite frail and got really worried and started shaking as if she was having a panic attack.

“I bought her a coffee with the little bit of money I had left and called the police from the nearby phone box.

“As the police turned up, the men went to move away and I thought they were leaving but later that night, after I had settled down, they suddenly appeared and one of them kicked me in the head.”

Jay went to hospital and was treated but he said the experience had shaken him.

“This was a one-off and these guys were not locals but it was upsetting nonetheless,” he said.”

Jay said he had received many messages of support from the Sidmouth community following his experience.

“Not everyone is happy to have me here and I understand that but on the whole I feel welcome,” he explained.

“Hopefully soon I can return to my family in Essex and start afresh.”

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