'His familiar face will be missed' - Edinburgh homeless man appears to have made flight back to relatives in Bulgaria thanks to fundraiser

A homeless man who missed a flight he had saved up for last week is believed to have made it back to his relatives in Bulgaria thanks to community support.

By Katharine Hay
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:50 pm

Mustafa Esar, from Romania, has regularly been spotted sitting outside a Royal Bank Of Scotland branch in Bruntsfield Place over the last year.

The man, whose age remains unknown, had booked a flight out of Edinburgh on January 5, but was denied boarding after failing to show evidence of a confirmed negative Covid-19 test before travelling.

Local resident Alexander Chepelin, who was regularly in touch with the man, set up a gofundme page which ended up raising £755 to cover Esar’s coronavirus test and contribute towards his journey home.

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Esra Mustafa who was regularly spotted outside RBS in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh picture: supplied

Speaking to Edinburgh Evening News, the 23-year-old said he last saw Esar with confirmation of a negative Covid test and a new boarding pass the day before his rebooked flight was due to fly on January 9 and has not seen him since.

"I think it’s good news,” said Alexander.

"I was with him the night before he was due to fly out and he had everything with him and we haven’t spotted him since so I think he made it.

"I checked to see the flight status and everything appeared to be running smoothly so fingers crossed.”

Alexander said despite the language barrier, he managed to explain to Esar what the gofundme page was about and how many people had donated money to help get him home.

"His familiar face will be missed because lots of people saw him,” he said.

"It just goes to show with how much we managed to raise in the end.

"And he was overwhelmed by the support when I showed him the page online. He kept putting his hands together and bowing his head.

“I hope by showing him that he realised that he was respected in this city and that there was compassion shown for him from the Edinburgh people.”

Alexander said Esra has his contact details, but he is still waiting to hear whether he has officially made it to his family in Bulgaria.

"He has my email and my phone number,” he added.

"My assumption is though that everything has gone well as he doesn’t seem to be here anymore.

"I wonder if he will send a message one day. I did tell him it would be nice to hear from him to see if he got back to his relatives and to of course see him again.

"But he did tell me that it was too cold for him here hence his decision to go back to Bulgaria, and that he wanted to see his family.”

With £775, Alexander said he hopes that if Esra runs into any further issues such as needing to be tested again for Covid-19 on his travels, the money should tie him over until he reaches his relatives.

"It can’t have been easy for him in this weather,” he added.

"And he’s just one of several who are out there in the cold.

"Luckily I have seen some Streetwork members out in Edinburgh making sure other homeless people like Esra have food and are okay.”

Esra’s fundraiser has stopped receiving donations.

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