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Homeless Barking man reunited with daughter through Facebook campaign

PUBLISHED: 12:22 25 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:21 25 September 2015

Friends have set up a crowdfunding page to help Ray Bryant, a homeless man who sleeps rough around Barking town centre

Friends have set up a crowdfunding page to help Ray Bryant, a homeless man who sleeps rough around Barking town centre

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A homeless man has been reunited with his daughter after she spotted an appeal on Facebook aiming to get him housed by Christmas.

Ray's daughter, Annie Bryant, who was tagged in the Facebook campaign and reunited with her dadRay's daughter, Annie Bryant, who was tagged in the Facebook campaign and reunited with her dad

Annie Bryant was tagged in the Go Fund Me page which was set up to put an end to Ray Bryant’s rough sleeping on the streets of Barking.

He admitted that he hasn’t been able to stop crying since he spoke to his daughter on the phone yesterday.

“I’m so emotional,” Ray, 59, said. “I’m thinking of her as a little girl but she’s a grown woman who’s got children of her own now.”

Annie, 22, who lives in Devon, said she knew her dad was homeless but hadn’t been able to trace him as he didn’t have an address.

(From left to right) Ray, Lisa Hicks, Lindsey Jane Kelly and Steve Free who is also homeless and sleeps rough with Ray(From left to right) Ray, Lisa Hicks, Lindsey Jane Kelly and Steve Free who is also homeless and sleeps rough with Ray

“The reunion was emotional, he said he missed me,” she said. “It was overwhelming and startling, it was a lot to take in.”

Ray was thrown into the social media spotlight after his friend, Lisa Hicks, set up a campaign to get him housed on Tuesday. Almost a third of the £1,500 target has been raised through donations.

Ray suffers from osteoarthritis and deep vein thrombosis and is being tested for cancer. He has been living on the streets and under the Nando’s carpark in Barking for the past year.

If the campaign reaches its target, he should be able to afford a deposit for a council house by Christmas.

Speaking about the campaign, Ray said: “I didn’t realise there were that many charitable people out there.

“This has all been a massive surprise because I don’t get much help from anywhere else.”

Lisa set up the campaign with her friend Lindsey Jane Kelly.

“I’ve known Ray for many years and he’s really having a hard time at the minute,” Lisa explained.

“He’s down on his luck but he is part of the community. There’s just no community spirit anymore and we need to start helping one another.”

She said he’s turned his life around and doesn’t beg or shoplift anymore.

“We want to get him sorted in a house first then we’re going to take him to go and meet his daughter,” Lisa added.

Donate to the campaign by visiting gofundme.com/tb4t22xw


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