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Homeless man whose tent was set on fire ‘overwhelmed and grateful’ as wellwishers buy him new one

Fire damage can be seen at the bottom of the tent where Chris was injured (Catherine Gorwill)
Fire damage can be seen at the bottom of the tent where Chris was injured (Catherine Gorwill)

A homeless man whose tent was set on fire while he was inside is “overwhelmed and very grateful” after locals banded together to fundraise for a replacement.

The 35-year-old, named locally as Chris, was taken to hospital with burns after police were called to the scene in the Llanishen and Thornhill Green Belt in north Cardiff at 2:20am on Tuesday.

Catherine Gorwill, a local mental health worker, set up the fundraising page after she was left “absolutely disgusted” by the incident. She reported that Chris had pitched his tent by a brook in a field during freezing conditions.

“It’s awful,” she told The Independent. “There’s absolute uproar about it. Our community isn’t like that. It’s a nice well-to-do community.”

Ms Gorwill said the new tent was being set up on Saturday night and extra money raised will go towards helping Chris purchase a bike or new accommodation.

The Green Belt in Llanishen and Thornhill in Cardiff where the incident happened (Catherine Gorwill)
The Green Belt in Llanishen and Thornhill in Cardiff where the incident happened (Catherine Gorwill)

“He’s moving around now because he’s absolutely petrified it’s going to happen again,” she said. “He’s burned all his hands, and his face is burned.”

Ms Gorwill set a GoFundMe target of just £100 to raise money to replace Chris’s tent but has been left overjoyed after the target surpassed £1,800.

“I set up the fundraiser initially to replace his tent and I never imagined it would raise so much. As I’ve had experience in working with vulnerable adults I was appalled that anyone could viciously attack a vulnerable person.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and thankful to everyone who has donated.

“The funds have already purchased a more sturdy tent and the remaining funds will be used to help pay for anything that he needs when his Outreach Team gets in contact, hopefully with news of suitable accommodation. “

Chris’s tent can be seen through the bushes (Catherine Gorwill)
Chris’s tent can be seen through the bushes (Catherine Gorwill)

Chris, who has been homeless since his 20s, has been left “overwhelmed and grateful” according to Ms Gorwill.

“He’s a very quiet man, very proud. He doesn’t want the media attention,” she said. “He was really overwhelmed with the positive response he’s had. He just kept saying ‘Really? Really?’

“The donations are flooding in for him now, which is wonderful.”

The new tent is expected to arrive this evening and locals are assisting Chris in pitching it (Catherine Gorwill)
The new tent is expected to arrive this evening and locals are assisting Chris in pitching it (Catherine Gorwill)

Police in Cardiff released the following statement in response to the attack: “South Wales Police is investigating a fire at a tent in Llanishen, Cardiff, which was reported to police at 2.22am on Tuesday, January 23.

“A 35-year-old man was treated in hospital for burns and has since been discharged.

“Enquiries are on-going to establish the cause and circumstances of the fire, and whether it was accidental or intentional.”

Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to please contact police by one of the following means quoting 2400025463.

The GoFundMe page can be found here.