Homeless Ray reunited with daughter in Barking cafe

Homeless Ray Bryant has been reunited with his daughter, Annie Bryant, after she spotted an appeal on Facebook aiming to...

Homeless Ray Bryant has been reunited with his daughter, Annie Bryant, after she spotted an appeal on Facebook aiming to get him housed by Christmas. - Credit: Archant

A homeless man broke down in tears as he was reunited with his long-lost daughter for the first time in 20 years.

The emotional meeting between Ray “Brickhead” Bryant and Annie Bryant took place in Ezo cafe on Barking station on Monday.

A freshly showered and newly shaved Ray told the Post: “I’ve been like a child waiting for Christmas.

“I only found out I was meeting her today and it’s been like a dream come true.”

Annie Bryant, 22, got up at 5am to make the journey from Devon and as she neared Barking she admitted to being overcome with emotion.

“As soon as I got close I started shaking,” she said. “My emotions are all over the place. I’m completely lost for words. I never expected this to happen. I’ve been asking questions about where my dad is since I was 15 and trying to find him but I didn’t know where to look.”

Annie was put in touch with her dad after being tagged in the Go Fund Me page set up by his friends to put an end to his rough sleeping.

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She was three when her mum split up with Ray and moved to Devon. She still lives there now with her two children.

The mum-of-two suggested they go for a drink but Ray, 59, explained that he doesn’t touch alcohol anymore.

“I’ve given up drinking altogether so we’re going to go for a quiet meal instead,” he said. “I can’t wait to catch up on all the time we’ve missed and hear about my other grandchildren.

“I spoke to my son’s son on the phone earlier and it was amazing to hear him say ‘hi grandad’.

“[The campaign] has opened up this whole door to my family now. I want to get everything sorted with a house at this end so that I can invite them all down to stay.”

The social media campaign, set by Ray’s friend, Lisa Hicks, a fortnight ago, has already raised £1,265 towards its £1,500 target.

To all those who shared the page and donated, Ray added: “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reuniting me with my family.”

The manager of Ezo cafe said he was delighted the event took place there.

Iliyan Kuzmanov, 36, added: “It’s so good because we try to help the homeless.

“All the paintings on the walls are from a homeless organisation and painted by homeless people.”

You can donate to the campaign and help Ray by visiting gofundme.com/tb4t22xw