He may still be on the missing list, but the money raised to keep a homeless Bray man off the streets has been put to good use.
Earlier this month Amy Manley befriended a rough sleeper known as James and, with the help of local homelessness charities, organised to have him stay at The Martello Hotel for four nights.
A GoFundMe was subsequently set up with a further €3,400 raised to help James receive the care and support he required. However, before Amy and the local services could put a plan in place for him, it emerged that James had disappeared, his whereabouts unknown.
Despite her best efforts, Amy has been unable to track down her friend, with homeless charities suggesting he could be in Donegal or even as far afield as the UK.
While she still holds out hope of James returning, Amy has already donated the money to three charities ,WH Five Loaves, Bray Together for Homelessness and the Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support, with some of it already used to help another homeless person.
“Some of the money was used to pay for a man in Dublin to stay two nights in a hotel with his dog. It was Colette from Together for Homelessness who rang me to suggest that,” said Amy, who runs her own business, Amy M Hair Extensions, on Parnell Road. Though most of the money has now been donated elsewhere, Amy does still want to find James.
“People know who he is, he’s approximately 74-years-old, small, bald and clean-shaven and was wearing a windbreaker and slacks,” she said. “I still walk the length of breadth of Bray every, looking into shops, half-expecting to run into him in.
“I think the desire to help people stems from my dad, he did a lot of work with the homelessness services. I would always find it hard to walk past someone on the street, sometimes you don’t have a choice but to stop.”
Amy paid special tribute to the women in The Marriott Hotel who went above and beyond the care of duty when James came to stay. “Molly, Sydney, Rachel, Megan, Evana and Ciara were sensational, they were constantly updating me, one of them even came out looking for him with me when he went missing again.
"I would have sat down with James one of the mornings while he was eating his breakfast, and listened to him telling his stories, how he was working years ago. People say you choose to be homeless but sometimes there are people who end up falling through the cracks.”