Tributes pour in for homeless Edinburgh soldier Darren Greenfield
Darren was a familiar face to many in the Capital, often rough sleeping at the top of Waverley Steps.
Today, tributes have been paid to him after it was confirmed that he had died at the age of 47.
Tommy Davidson, the secretary of Ancre Somme Association Scotland, paid tribute to the former soldier.
He said: “We are all saddened by the death of Darren.
“I first came into contact with Darren, probably like many others, when I was shopping in Edinburgh about six months ago.
“I came up the stairs from Waverley station and I noticed him.
“I kneeled down beside him and asked him some questions, like had he eaten or had something to drink that day.
“At that time he said he had something in the pipeline that he was just waiting on coming through.
“Thousands of Scots and tourists would have seen Darren sitting there.
“There are agencies in place, such as the Royal British Legion, who can help get soldiers back on their feet.
“We have raised Darren’s death with Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alexander Stewart to see what can be done to try and get ex-servicemen and women off the streets.
“We are asking for cross-party support so this issue doesn’t end up as a political football.
“These people would have given their lives at one point when they were serving, so we should be able to help get them a home and career opportunities.
“They are highly skilled people -- there must be something we can do to help them get back on their feet.”
John Robert Thomas said: “This is so tragic. This can’t really be a real thing when the other side of the road people stay out all night to pay £1000 for a mobile phone.
The inequality in this world breaks my heart.”
Another reader tweeted: “This is a truly SHOCKING way to treat people & our former soldiers.”
Ann Boyd May wrote on the Edinburgh Evening News Facebook page: “Darren find the peace he never found in life. At ease soldier.”
Audrey Finlayson added: “Should never happen in this day & age so so sad R.I.P”
Karen Thomson said: “Poor man. This should have never happened.”
Lynsay Heron recalled an encounter with Darren writing: “I had many a blether with Darren. He was a very pleasant guy and was always very grateful for me taking the time to stop and chat. Rest in peace Darren.”
In a tweet, support group Soldiers Off the Street said: “Luckily not many homeless veterans refuse help when offered.
“Sadly one ex Royal Tank Darren who sat at the top of the Waverly Steps in Edinburgh sadly died on the 17th December after refusing help from Soldiers Off the Street.
“SSAFA and others tried helping him but we think the streets was his only way of living and coping with life.
“A lot of members informed us about this veteran on Waverley Steps and even Rose Gentle met him when our Scottish outreach team was out.
“Now he can rest in peace to fly with the angels.”
MP Ian Murray also paid tribute saying: “Once again it highlights the deficiencies in how we treat ex-service personnel when they leave the armed forces.
“Both the UK and Scottish governments must do more to help brave ex-soldiers like Darren.”