Homeless people remembered in Wolverhampton by balloon event

By Jamie Brassington | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

Balloons were released into the Wolverhampton sky to remember homeless people who have died in Britain.

The balloon event in Wolverhampton

Rough sleepers joined aid workers in letting off the balloons near to Wolverhampton's bus station.

The touching event was held by an organisation called Reach Out 2 Black Country, which provides support to homeless people.

Gerald O'Keeffe, aged 60, who is from charitable organisation Reach Out, said: "This balloon release is to remember the homeless men, women and - believe it or not - children who have died on the streets of Britain.

"We have got figures that confirm 1,574 deaths since 2017 of which just under 500 are from the West Midlands and the Black Country.

"Of those figures, we have only got our hands on 138 names, so they are only the ones that have been recognised.

"No body is actually doing it just o remember them. They could be somebody's father, brother, sister or son."

He continued: "Homeless people do die in the Black Country and they don't get recognised.

"I know two people who died several months ago."


Among the rough sleepers who were there was Liam Harris.

He said: "The two people who passed way were called Hayley and Jay. Hayley she passed away next to Nando's and Jay passed away in the car park at the train station.

"There is two Russian guys that passed away sleeping rough in the subway because no one wanted to help them."

That problem - with stigma attached to homeless people - is something Gerald wants to address through his charitable organisation.


He said: "Several homeless guys I know, who are from Europe, can't even get a cup of tea from the shop.

"When they go in the shop they get looked down upon. There is stigma there."

Anyone who would like to contact Gerald can call him on 07783 038715.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at


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