YEP Letters: January 4

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Tribute to ‘gentle giant’ of Leeds’ streets

A homeless man who died in the days before Christmas was a “gentle giant” his niece has said after an outpouring of warm tributes. Fifty-year-old Nigel Whalley would often stand outside the Merrion Centre and was known for coming to the rescue of mothers struggling down the steps with their pushchairs. Flowers and cards have appeared at the site in recent days with many honouring his memory and paying tribute to a “true gentlemen”. Now his niece Jessie Wood has spoken about the man she knew - a father and brother and uncle whose life had spiralled after a marriage breakdown. “He didn’t realise how loved he was” she said. “I don’t think he ever felt good enough for anybody and that’s why he always tried to help others out. Here are some of the tributes YEP readers left on social media..

Helen Huckvale

I knew Nigel for over 12 years, met him originally when I worked in York and he sold the Big Issue there, he moved over to Leeds and it made it easier for us to keep in contact with him. I often sorted him with new clothes and winter things – bought him lunch every day, but about two years ago we lost touch and his mobile stopped working. I often walked through town trying to find him and now I’m so upset that he was based at the Merrion Centre. He was such a gentle, funny and friendly guy and never let his situation dampen his spirits.

So very, very sorry to read that he has died. RIP Nigel, sorry I didn’t try harder to find you again. Rest in peace.

Louise Sandiman

RIP you were always ready to help others, gone to help those in heaven now.

Jessie Mullins

Nigel was such a amazing guy, always there to help my daughter with the buggy, taking old ladies’ bags and helping them down the stairs. Gentle and kind man taken too soon. RIP.

Sarah Brown

RIP be missed by many. Gone but never forgotten. God must have needed his help in heaven.

Anna Christodoulou

Bless him I saw him in McDonald’s on Boar Lane when I was in the UK, he got up to let a disabled person in a wheelchair, I bought him a coffee and my then six-year-old gave him his fries. RIP.

Matthew Roy

He was such a nice guy, often seen him help old ladies and people struggling to get down the steps in the Merrion Centre. He was always there to help. Sad, really.

Kelly Bells Brooke-walsh

God bless him, he used to help with buggy and he one chased my son’s balloon to catch it for him, such a lovely caring man RIP

Susie Foster

RIP Nigel. Didn’t know you, but you sounded like such a very kind hearted person, with all the help you gave.

Nikki Hutchinson

Oh I used to speak to Nigel regularly and give him money for a cuppa. I wondered where he’d gone. Bless you. RIP.

Lynn Youhill

God bless. He helped me with my pram on many occasions. To have nothing and to still give something is a great gift.

Susan Mitchell

Hopefully you have gone to a better world than the one that you have just left, RIP.

Victoria L Marks

Nigel helped me a few times with the pram. Very sad – hope he is now at peace.

Shelly Hills

Rest in peace, Nigel. What a lovely man he really was.

Sara Lou Burness

Such a lovely man. Always had a natter and was so helpful. RIP.

Tracey Tebbutt

RIP Nigel, you were a true gent. I will really miss you.

Marc Newbould

RIP Nigel. Leeds has lost a great gent but his memories will still remain.

Paul Carter

A man with the heart and soul of an angel, I hope he’s resting peacefully now.

Kelly Dunn

I saw him every week and he came running to help my mum and me with our shopping. He was a very loving man and I will miss talking to him, RIP mate.

Lauran Warren

I’m so pleased YEP has done this article, as Jessie says, Nigel didn’t realise just how loved he was.

Andrew Tolson

RIP mate, only knew you this last year, you were a good man and I hope you are at peace now.

Graham Holmes

What a lovely man, this is very heartbreaking and how sad that I never knew your name until now. RIP Nigel.

Angi Burnett

Lovely guy. RIP Nigel, you were a gentleman, kind man.

Lynn Youhill

God bless. He helped me with my pram on many occasions to have nothing and to still give something is a great gift.

Ann Clarke

God bless you, Nigel, I remember you and was so impressed with your kindness.

Rebecca Jackson

Lovely words from everyone, uncle Nigel xxx

Carol-dawn Huxall

Nobody should be homeless. RIP Nigel.

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