A POPULAR homeless man is said to have been “overwhelmed” by the public’s concern after he was taken to hospital with health problems.
The plight of Arthur Williams – otherwise known as Rastatramp – has attracted the attention of thousands of well-wishers who were worried when he went missing from his usual spot on Leith Walk.
Concerns over his disappearance led to police putting up signs to reassure the public after Leith Police Station was inundated by calls.
Pc Gordon Duff said he had been passing on the get well wishes to Arthur in his hospital bed. “Arthur is being well looked after and when I last saw him he was happy in his surroundings,” he said.
“Social services and the police have already received numerous inquiries regarding Arthur and we are continuing to pass on messages of support to him from members of the community.”
Arthur, who has lived on the streets for more than three decades, was picked up by police on Wednesday and taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for care and recuperation.
His belongings have been moved from Leith Walk and put in storage while he recovers.
Rumours that he had died of pneumonia led to bunches of flowers being placed next to his abandoned cardboard home outside Majestic Wine.
News he was alive resulted in an outpouring of relief with thousands taking to the Evening News’ Facebook page to wish him well.
It even resulted in international attention with Logan Roebuck writing from Switzerland: “It does goes to show that there are still people who ‘notice’ other people. I don’t know you, but my thoughts and prayers are with you. Love from Switzerland.”
A collection has been started for Arthur on community website Sunshine On Leith. Its creator, Craig Ramsay, 34, said he intended to take money raised for clothing to the hospital.
He said: “I’ve had people saying he won’t accept anything but I think we have to try. I think it’s the least we can do. It’s nice to see so many people care about him. It says a lot about the community of Leith.” The “likes” on a page dedicated to him on Facebook have risen to more than 8500, with many commenting he should be found a home.
Whitney Bex wrote: “Get well soon Arthur. Now may be the time to consider a life indoors – at least at night times. Hoping that being warm and toastie in the ward may appeal to you.”
A council spokesperson was unable to comment on whether he would be found a home.
Vice convener of health and social care Councillor Cammy Day said: “When an older person is discharged from hospital we identify what support they require to make sure that they receive the right level of care. It would not be appropriate to discuss the specific care plans of an individual as this information is confidential.”
Relief over his plight
jamie crichton @jamiec183: “Aww Arthur the tramp is alive!! Glad to hear that. Hope he gets better #rastatramp”
Zoe Redhead @zRedhead01: “So glad Leith’s Rastatramp – aka Arthur – is doing well in hospital. Used to see him about a lot when lived in Leith. Such a gentle lovely guy.”
Alaster Phillips @AlasterPhillips: “Faith in humanity and community spirit restored #rastatramp”
Helen MacDonald on Facebook: “I’m so glad he’s ok. Get well soon Arthur.”
Joanne Wood on Facebook: “I’ve missed you on my daily walk and have been concerned as I feared you were failing of late. Your eyes look sore and you were sleeping more than usual. I hope the nurses and doctors treat you with the respect you deserve.”