CLUB NEWS: Hellingly’s Barry aims to give back

Hellingly’s Barry Carpenter runs the London Marathon in April, and while he’s training hard and shifted plenty of pounds in the process, he reflected on his motivations for entering the marathon and how he wants to give back after falling on hard times as a teenager.

Writing on Facebook earlier he told his inspiring and emotional story, it’s well worth a read: “28 years ago I arrived in London as a homeless 17 year old. Since I was 14 I had been in care, living in children’s homes and foster or supported living placements, I had actually been refused back into the children’s home as I was too much of a bad influence, there really was no help for me.

“At the age of 16 I was placed into a bedsit under the NCH banner, there I was given 6 months to get myself straight with lots of assistance from staff but again I let myself and everyone else down by not accepting help and advice, when that placement ended I turned to private rentals, live in work or homeless b and b’s but I messed all them places up to and so when I had literally nowhere to turn I decided on London. As a 17 year old know it all I tested the patience of a large number of people (basically everybody I came into contact with) and literally had nowhere else to turn.

“When I arrived I was given the best chance of success in my life, I was approached by a film crew who were researching into filming a documentary about a new homeless teenager in London, they did and that teenager was me. Being on TV in April 1990 was going to put me into the national spotlight and if I had shown any willingness at all then I am sure that more offers of help would of materialised than those that did, even the offers I received I managed to ruin but that’s another story, I look back today at that documentary and watch in despair at how unhelpful and impossible to help I was, when really I was a scared and frightened little boy.

Barry presenting medals at Hellingly in 2016.

“When I was homeless I had been given places in hostels and overnight centres but people couldn’t deal with my attitude of I know best and no one can tell me what to do, people were so disheartened that they just gave up on me. During that time I not only harmed myself but also my fellow homeless and that is something unfortunately I can never change.

“I have never been a fitness freak or a runner in fact in May 2017 I would struggle to run a bath but now I’m in training for what is renowned to be the best race in the world, for me it will be, finally I will be able to give back to a homeless charity and help homeless people and awareness of homelessness, this is massive for me a chance to give back.

“The challenge won’t be easy though I totally understand that and not only on a fitness level but an emotional one, the route of the marathon (final stages) will take me past 7 doorways that were home to me during my time on the streets, one has very bitter memories, I slept there one night and when I woke up I had been urinated on because I was homeless and dirty.

“I hope that you can understand the complete personal journey that the marathon is going to take me on and please if you can donate to my page, Shelter are invaluable in helping people find accommodation and get off the streets and also in helping people avoid the pure nightmare that is homelessness.

“I am honestly grateful for any donation to this truly worthwhile cause and thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me.”

Later speaking to 33/18 News Barry commented: “I’ve got a huge target of £3000 and am getting worried about hitting it! I’ve also set up a page, “Marathon In March” it’s like a virtual run (anybody – anywhere), get people to run or walk 26.2 miles in the month, medals will be awarded. Check out the page and see if it makes sense to your readers, the more people, the more money we can raise.”

You can donate to help Barry reach his target at the link below, please give what you can:

Go for it Barry!