Monday, 29 Nov 2021

Homeless man on ‘brink of death’ proposed to saviour using Coke can clip as ring

A homeless man who almost died from malnutrition "proposed" to the hero who saved his life.

Joe, 47, used a Coke can clip as an engagement ring to pop the question to Michelle Thorpe, 54, after she found him on the brink of death outside St John's Church in Waterloo, south London.

Despite going blind and "almost dead" after not eating or drinking for days, Michelle said Joe would only seek hospital treatment if the Homes for Heroes charity director would marry him because "he had nothing to live for".

To his amazement, Michelle, who had recently spent a fortnight in hospital recovering from a stroke, said yes, MyLondon reports.

By using a clip from a Coke can as a makeshift engagement ring, Joe was persuaded to go to hospital.

"He was laying there quite lifeless and basically, he was almost dead. He hadn't drunk anything, he hadn't eaten anything," Michelle said.

"His body was basically closing down on him."

Paramedics said he would have died if he had refused treatment.

"I was feeding him water, trying to convince him to go to the hospital," Michelle, also known as the Pearly Queen of Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, said.

"He said if I marry him he'll go in hospital because he had nothing to live for. If I married him he would."

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"We got the ring off a Coke can and then he married me while waiting for the ambulance to come," she added.

CEO of the charity, Jimmy Jukes, 65, and other homeless Londoners gathered around and watched on as Michelle convinced Joe to go to the hospital

"Jimmy was getting emotional because he could see what was going on with Joe," Michelle said.

"A lot of the lads [were there] at the time and they started clapping and cheering.

"The paramedics turned up just after he put the Coke ring on my finger."

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She said: "They took him to hospital. We explained how he deteriorated and they said there wasn't hope for him.

"We contacted the hospital later and he was in intensive care for a while.

"If it took me another hour to convince him we would have lost him for sure.

"He was in hospital for quite a long time actually and then when he came out, he came back down to us and he had turned his life around."

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Despite not getting officially hitched, the pair have since developed a strong bond.

The charity worker said: "Since then he's cleaned himself up and he's off the drink and drugs."

Homes for Heroes is dedicated to providing food and water to the capital's 11,000 homeless people.

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Londoner Michelle said: "When I disappeared for a bit it's like when they [the homeless) don't see me, they don't want to eat.

"There's certain boys that won't come over and eat because they're used to it being me serving.

"It's confidence and things they lack. I was in hospital for two weeks, when I came out of hospital I came straight out to see the boys."

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