Leeds council boss: ‘One person sleeping rough is one too many’

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan,
Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan,
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One person sleeping rough on the streets in Leeds is one too many.

That’s the message from the boss of Leeds City Council, who has led tributes to two homeless men from the city who died last week.

A touching candlelit vigil was held in Leeds city centre on Tuesday night in memory of the two men, under the historic Dark Arches near the city’s railway station.

Dozens of people assembled for the poignant memorial gathering in Neville Street.

Rough sleeper Alan Campbell died on Friday, according to homeless charities who attended the vigil this week.

West Yorkshire Police yesterday said there were no suspicious surrounding his death.

An inquest into his death opened in Wakefield on Tuesday, the coroner’s office confirmed.

The vigil was also held to remember another rough sleeper – known only as ‘Geordie’ – who is also believed to have died last week.

Leeds City Council’s chief executive, Tom Riordan, yesterday expressed condolences to the friends and families of the men.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Leeds City Council and our partners strive to reduce poverty and rough sleeping across Leeds.

“Working closely in partnership with third sector organisations like St George’s Crypt and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation means Leeds has about two-thirds fewer people sleeping rough than in comparable cities, with fewer people in temporary accommodation than similar cities.

“However, one person sleeping rough is, of course, one person too many, and the death of people who sleep rough is extremely sad. Our condolences and thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who have died.”

Neville Street was awash with pictures of both men, candles and floral tributes during the vigil on Tuesday.

Touching hand-written cards, penned by friends and those who knew them, were also left in the street for the gathering.

“Rest in peace Angels,” one message read.

“We will never forget our friends Alan and Geordie. Always in our hearts and minds.”

Another said: “For two years Alan has lived as my neighbour, and one of the best at that!

“We exchanged books, food and a few quid here and there.

“You were such a kind man, with a wonderful mind and a beautiful soul. I will miss you very much.”

Michael Tennant.

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