A GRATEFUL rough sleeper has been left overwhelmed by the generosity of the community after a team helped him to secure his own flat.

Trevor Nicholls, 57, has been living on the streets of Walton for two years, sleeping on seafront benches and struggling to get by.

He says his life spiralled because of a dependency on alcohol and a devastating split with his wife.

“My wife left me and I haven’t seen my children in two years,” he said.

“It has been absolute hell.

“It feels like I’m lost in time to be honest.

“I am totally lost.

“This week, I’ve been sitting down and talking to my mum, her ashes are scattered under the pier. I was just saying that I love her.

“But there are lovely people who have helped me.”

PCSO Michele Diss has engaged constantly with Trevor, befriending him with the long-term aim of securing him a home.

Mr Nicholls now has a council flat in Grove Avenue.

Residents and businesses have rallied around to donate household items, including a sofa and a microwave, as Trevor looks to get back on his feet.

PCSO Paul Brassey, who has patrolled Walton for 14 years, said: “Michelle has gone the extra mile. Most days we will be checking on him, engaging with him.

“He has good days and bad days, but he is a good man at heart.”

“For example he has had his stuff taken when rough sleeping.

"During winter when he was given a couple of pairs of long johns, he pointed out there is another homeless guy in the area and said ‘give a pair to him’.”

Trevor added: “Thanks to Michele and the police, the council and people in Walton I have a flat and help.

“I am alcohol-dependant, so it is still hard.

“I have three good neighbours who are already looking after me.

“I need to thank everyone for their help.

“My home was on the street. It is going to take a long while to get used to this.”

Trevor has received support from charity Phoenix Futures in setting up a bank account and seeking benefits, and has received a health check-up.

Michelle added: “The community of Walton have pulled together and donated items for Trevor’s flat.

“Since being housed Trevor’s health and general outlook on life has improved and he cannot thank people enough for their generosity.”

A Tendring Council spokesman said the authority always works hard with partners to try to improve the lives of people sleeping rough.

He added: “This case has resulted in a particularly positive outcome which is great news for everyone, especially the person sleeping rough.”