A HOMELESS veteran who had his tent slashed by vandals has a roof over his head after Worcester's ex-soldiers rallied behind him.

The veteran, who wanted to be known as "John" rather than by his real name, was gutted after returning in the pouring rain to his slashed tent in woods near Worcester Racecourse.

Two slits were cut into the two-man tent on Saturday, February 6 and, as a result, the tent was no longer able to keep out the water.

The 60-year-old, a former corporal in Royal Corps of Signals, by now drenched and cold, came to the Postal Order in Foregate Street, Worcester to try and get dry and find a replacement tent.

It was there he heard about the city's breakfast club for veterans, set up in September by Dave Carney. The club meets in the JD Wetherspoon pub at 10am on the first Saturday of every month.

The next day Mr Carney, aged 44, of Merriman's Hill, Worcester, a reserve veteran with the Royal Engineers, gave John his own tent.

John, who did not report the criminal damage matter to police, said: "It was such a dismal day. I was pretty angry when I found out.

"That night I slept in a stable block in the racecourse, under cover. But before that I came to the Postal Order to speak to Matt, one of the team managers who told me about the breakfast club."

Mr Carney, his partner, Clare Green, and the other veterans went one better than a tent and between them have made sure John has a roof over his head for 10 days with the hope more can be done for him.

John, who insisted on earning his keep, did some painting and decorating work for Mr Carney and his mum and as payment was put up in Ye Olde Talbot, Worcester, The Crown in Broad Street, Worcester in Worcester (which offered the room at a 20 per cent discount) and at a B&B in Barbourne.

He has now had a roof over his head since Sunday (February 7) and the UKIP MEP James Carver also paid for two more nights in a B&B for the veteran.

A crowdfunding page has also been set up which it is hoped will raise £600, helping towards a deposit on a flat and any furniture John may need.

John described the kindness show to him and the change in his circumstances as a 'great relief' and 'overwhelming'.

John, originally from Cheshire, is single, has no children or family, and had been living homeless for the past 14 weeks.

Before that he had a live-in job as a painter/decorator/odd job man in a hotel in Weston-super-Mare but lost his job when the hotel closed down which is how he became homeless for the first time in his life.

John, who is not claiming benefits, now wants to try and get his own accommodation.

Since becoming homeless John has spent time in Bath, Cheltenham, Salisbury and Cirencester although he does have connections to Worcester.

He was based in Norton Barracks in 1973 when serving with the signals but also has also been in two tours overseas in Belize in Central America before leaving the army in 1982 which he describes as like his family.

John said he was not classed as vulnerable because he had no drug or alcohol problems or mental health issues which he confessed he found 'annoying'.

Being a former soldier John said did not fit many people's impression (or stereotype) of what a homeless person looks like.

He is tidy with a neat haircut, clean-shaven and wears newly washed clothes, using the facilities at Maggs Day Centre in Deansway.

He said: "It's important to keep clean and tidy. It's a priority."

He hopes funds will soon become available which will bring more financial stability to his life.

Dave Carney said: "Luckily, we found Ye Old Talbot was charging £85 for two nights, so we booked him in to that place, but didn't tell him until he'd finished the painting in our house. He was over the moon at the news but also felt humbled by it.

"We have got to look out for ourselves. The Government isn't helping us. In the armed forces you are treated like family and you have got to stick together through thick and thin. It's the old adage, you don't leave a man behind."

Mr Carney also organised an emergency Brekkie Club on Saturday, February 13 at the Postal Order at 10am which UKIP MEP Jim Carver also attended and has given his personal and financial support to John.

Another veteran donated £100 towards accommodation.

To make a contribution to the cause visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/clare-green