Northwick Park nurse befriends and helps elderly homeless Windrush man off the streets

Alison Willis, a senior sister in Northwick Park Hospital’s A&E department. Picture: LNWUH NHS Trust

Alison Willis, a senior sister in Northwick Park Hospitals A&E department. Picture: LNWUH NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

A 76-year-old homeless man has been befriended and helped by a Northwick Park nurse.

Alison Willis, a senior sister at the Watford Road’s hospital’s A&E department, first noticed Lewis sleeping in a bus shelter in the hospital grounds as she drove past after shifts.

One day he disappeared – and when she came across him some time later in Harrow town centre she struck up a conversation with him.

Their ensuing friendship has secured Lewis a stable home and, crucially, papers from the Home Office allowing him to remain in the UK indefinitely.

Lewis arrived from Jamaica in 1959, as part of the Windrush generation.

He was made homeless after being asked to leave a housing association flat he shared with the tenant who died, the hospital said.

Alison said: “It was heart-breaking to see an elderly vulnerable man in those circumstances, especially with winter approaching, so I took it on myself to help him.

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“I haven’t done anything like this before but it felt like the right thing to do.”

Putting her triage skills to good use, she helped the elderly man secure emergency accommodation as well as registering him with a GP and applying for various benefits and health checks.

“He’s a man of few words but it was obvious he’d been hard done and didn’t realise he had rights,” added Alison.

Big-hearted colleagues from A&E, West Harrow neighbours and Free Cycle raised money to furnish the studio flat he now lives in and Alison visits him regularly taking care of his laundry and cleaning.

The nurse, who was awarded a borough commander’s commendation from the Met for her work, said: “Lewis has not had an A&E attendance or admission since getting a roof over his head.”

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