Homeless ex-soldier dies on Edinburgh’s streets

Darren Greenfield at his usual spot outside Waverley Station

A homeless former soldier, Darren Greenfield, 47, has passed away, sparking outrage amongst veterans and campaigners.

Darren Greenfield served with the Royal Tank Regiment but fell on hard times after leaving the army.

Many Edinburgh residents saw the veteran on a daily basis, sat at his post outside Waverley Station with a cardboard sign. It read simply, ‘Soldier in need please help, thank you, God Bless’.

His death has been described as a tragedy by his friends with some revealing that they had tried to reach out to offer support before he was admitted to hospital where he passed away.

EN4 News spoke with local man, David Ronney who saw Mr. Greenfield regularly.

“Darren used to come into my work at the Waverley Mall every morning or afternoon I was in. He would come in to order a hot chocolate and even though he would always have the money to pay for his drink, many of us would cover the charge for him. He was always grateful for this and would say “god bless” with the biggest smile on his face.”

I can say he was one of the most polite and lovely customers I’ve had the opportunity to interact with. He would always strike a conversation with whoever was working and had a genuine interest for what they had to say as did we all for Darren.”

The support group, Soldier’s Off the Street also commented through Facebook that Darren had “refused help from Soldiers off the Street, SSAFA and others tried helping him but we think the streets was his only way of living and copping with life.”

Studies have shown that veterans are 10 percent more likely to be homeless in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

Homeless charity Shelter commented:

“It is not uncommon for service users to have left the armed forces many years ago and have had a chequered history of trying to integrate into civilian life.”

“They may have initially returned to the family home on release from the forces but have suffered relationship breakdown and consequently homelessness. Some have ended up living on the streets and have taken many years to approach anyone for help.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from homelessness you can contact Streetwork @

South Bridge
18 South Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1LL
Tel: 0131 344 0825
Holyrood Hub
22 Holyrood Road
Edinburgh EH8 8AF
Tel: 0131 557 6055
Freephone: 0808 178 2323

 

Celebrating Scotland – Greatest Scottish Literature Writers

Burns Night – the annual celebration of one of Scotland’s greatest literary figures – is less than a week away. So, as we celebrate all things Scottish it seems only natural that we look at some of the most celebrated figures in Scottish literature – from poets, playwrights and novelists – from the past to the present.

Robert Burns

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The man himself. Scotland’s national poet and,  according to a 2009 public vote organised by STV, the greatest ever Scot. Some of his works include Hogmanay favourite ‘Auld Lang Syne‘, ‘A Red, Red Rose‘, and ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That‘. A vast majority of Burns’ work is in the public domain so there is no excuse to not brush up on your knowledge of the Bard – it can be found here: http://www.robertburns.org/works/ 

Sir Walter Scott

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The Edinburgh-born novelist, poet and playwright, Sir Walter Scott remains a popular historical figure in Scottish literature. His influence can be seen clearly in the captial city – his novel ‘Waverley’ gave Edinburgh’s main train station its name and a monument in his honour towers over Princes Street. In addition, his face adorns Scottish banknotes. A huge figure in Scottish history.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Sticking with Edinburgh-born writers, his most famous works include the pirate adventure ‘Treasure Island’ and the influential horror ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. His stories have remained popular for over a hundred years and have received numerous adaptations over the years. Stevenson was also a keen poet and traveller, he died in Samoan Islands in 1894.

J.M. Barrie

by George Charles Beresford, vintage print, 1902

Pirates also played a big part of this author’s best known work, Barrie being primarily known as the author of ‘Peter Pan’, the timeless tale of the boy who would not grow up. Starting its life as a play in 1904, it was not until 1911 that the novel was released. The story continues to resonate with children and adults alike with an abundance of film and television adaptations – the best known of which is easily Disney’s 1953 animated film.

Alasdair Grey

Moving onto more modern figures now and Alasdair Grey is probably best known for his first novel ‘Lanark’ which was written over a period of 30 years. The book is still considered to be one of the most important of the past century, with its surreal yet realist depiction of Glasgow helping it take its rightful place as part of Scottish culture.

Iain Banks

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A celebrated Science-Fiction author whose Culture series continues to influence the genre today. Born in Dunfermline in 1954, his first novel ‘The Wasp Factory’ was released in 1984. However, it was with the release of 1987’s ‘Consider Phlebas’ that he moved the genre away from its cyberpunk obsession and in turn helped to revive the space opera genre. He passed away at the age of 59 due to cancer, but lives on through his work.

Ian Rankin

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A hugely prolific author, Rankin is the author behind the Inspector Rebus series of novels. Since 1987, there have been 21 novels in the series, which found a large audience as a television series between 2000 and 2007. Rankin’s series has cultivated a large following and looks to continue for a long time.

Irvine Welsh

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Welsh’s first novel, ‘Trainspotting’ was published in 1993 and since then he has garnered a reputation for being a raw, controversial but excellent author. His stories depict a brutal side of Edinburgh that is rarely seen – sex, drugs and violence are major themes in his works. The film adaptation of Trainspotting had a huge impact on Scottish culture. With the imminent release of Trainspotting 2 it seems Welsh will continue to have an impact as one of Scotland’s modern literary greats.

Of course, this is just a small selection of Scottish literature greats. We would like you to tell us some of your favourites, either in the comment selection below or on Twitter @en4news2016

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