Romford Market traders hold tin drive for Salvation Army in homeless Bill’s memory
PUBLISHED: 09:10 04 March 2015
Do you remember Bill? Romford’s market traders certainly do and they are holding a charity tin drive in his memory.
Floods of tributes were shared on social media last month for homeless Bill who died at Queen’s Hospital after suffering from an infection.
Cyril Stoddart – who preferred to be known as Bill – may be gone but he has not been forgotten as stallholders in Romford Market have been running a tin drive for the Salvation Army in his name.
Graeme Gibbons, toiletry stallholder and friend to Bill for more than 20 years, said: “I am very proud to have known him and I doubt I’ll ever have a nicer friend than him.
“The Salvation Army always helped Bill when they could and especially in his last few days so we want to repay them.
“We did think about putting a plaque on a bench for him but we thought this could be something to help other people who are in a similar situation – we think that’s what he would have wanted.”
There were many rumours surrounding Bill’s life including that he was secretly wealthy, that he owned a pack of wild dogs and that he started living on the streets after his family was killed.
No matter what the truth was, shoppers have been keen to donate hundreds of pounds worth of tinned food to the Salvation Army as well as monetary donations which will be spent on more food.
Graeme said: “We’ve had such a great reaction from so many people so I would definitely like to thank everyone for taking the time to donate to such a good cause.
“It’s been an upsetting time for everyone but doing this has helped.
“Bill would have been over the moon about all of the attention he is getting.”
Donations can still made until next Saturday to Graeme’s stall outside the 99p store in the Market Place.
Bill’s close friends and family attended his funeral last week at South Essex Crematorium.