Floral tributes in honour of a “true gentleman”

Floral tributes have been laid at the spot where Nigel used to stand
Floral tributes have been laid at the spot where Nigel used to stand
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A flood of tributes have appeared in the city centre spot where a homeless man known as Nigel would stand as dozens pay tribute to his “kind heart” and ever-ready smile.

Nigel Whalley, aged 50 and originally from Seacroft, passed away just before Christmas.

Best known at the spot he would frequent outside the Merrion Centre in Leeds, he is remembered by many as the man who would come to the rescue of mums struggling to get pushchairs up and down the steps.

After news broke on social media, a flurry of tributes have been paid to “one of life’s true gentlemen”, with many recounting their memories of him helping them over the years.

Amy Lowry, on Facebook, said he had always been there to give a hand when needed.

“Thought I hadn’t seen him for a few months,” she said. “I always looked out for him when I was in town.

“You will be missed Nigel.”

Today, as bouquets of flowers were laid alongside the barriers outside the shopping centre, many people passing paused to read the messages and spoke of their sadness at hearing the news.

“He was a really nice man,” said Natalie Liburd from Chapeltown, who had known Nigel for more than a decade.

“He’s helped me many a time with my pushchair when my children were little, he was always there to help when needed.

“He helped many of us, and he was such a pleasant man.

“He was quite a worldly man, he always knew what was going on in the world. And he was well respected among the homeless community.

“It’s terribly sad. But these flowers are really touching.”

Among the flowers laid were cards to “the kindest, amazing soul”, and tributes to a beloved uncle.