A HOMELESS man who has been sleeping in a bus shelter in Wotton-under-Edge was hospitalised at the weekend.
The man in his 40s, known locally as Nigel, was found to be suffering from infection and a leg injury at the bus shelter by the war memorial on Old Town on Friday, November 9.
Concerned neighbours called 999 at 3.02pm. A paramedic rapid response vehicle arrived on the scene at 3.12pm and an ambulance was called as backup.
Great Western Ambulance Service staff felt that he needed hospital treatment but he refused to go, so Gloucestershire police were also called to the scene at 5.20pm.
After being spoken to by police and crew, he agreed to go to hospital and left for Frenchay Hospital at 6.08pm.
Speculation about his whereabouts was rife around the town and online over the weekend, with rumours flying around that he had had a heart attack, or been moved on in advance of the Remembrance Sunday memorials.
There were also suggestions that he had passed away, fuelled by the removal of his possessions from the bus shelter.
Glenys Sykes, Wotton Town Council clerk, said she understood that one of the people who had been supporting him had moved his possessions for safe-keeping.
Wotton resident Simon Hacker said that while a lot of people had been trying to help Nigel over recent months, there had been exasperation in some parts of the community that nothing conclusive had been done for his welfare.
But Mrs Sykes explained that the council had been holding meetings about the situation, most recently this afternoon.
"We’ve been meeting for some time with as many agencies as we can – mental health agencies, doctors and charities," she said.
"The outcome of the meeting today was that we are working together to find a solution."
One charity they are working with is GEAR, the Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resource.
She said there was grave concern about him spending another winter outdoors, especially as he had become ill so early in the cold season.
The town council is also taking into consideration the fact that while he has been sleeping in the bus shelter, other people feel like they cannot wait for the bus there, and that some people may find his behaviour intimidating.
Mrs Sykes said: "Professional people are concerned, but we have no magic wand.
"We’ve got to work with Nigel. We can’t impose something on him."
It is not certain if he will return to Wotton-under-Edge if discharged from hospital.