Published: 10:01, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 10:02, 27 January 2021
Tributes have been paid to a 'gentle soul and true gentleman' who died suddenly aged 40.
Slovakian Vladimir Borovsky, known as Gemer or Vlad, had previously been homeless in Folkestone for many years but had turned his life around after getting a bedsit a year ago.
But after a fall in the town which led to him suffering from cardiac arrest, he spent a week in the William Harvey Hospital in a coma and sadly passed away on Sunday (January 24).
Staff at the Rainbow Centre in Folkestone, who previously supported Mr Borovsky, have now set up a fundraiser for a memorial for him in the town.
It has so far raised £1,500.
Jana Ernest, manager of the Rainbow Centre's Winter Shelter project, for which Mr Borovsky had previously used, described him as 'a gentle soul and a true gentleman'.
She said: "Folkestone was his family. He was known by so many.
"He protected his friends on the street at all times, and he particularly looked after all the women he knew, whilst maintaining healthy boundaries around us professionals.
"He was in the centre of resolving any conflicts in the shelter, always fair and on our side when other guests lost it a little.
"He was an extremely organized person. He always knew how many beers he had drunk, when his appointments were and his paperwork was always in perfect order, even when he was street homeless.
"He always called me when he was about to miss an appointment, to apologize that he had 'celebrated a little' (his words), so won’t come in.
"He worked very hard, for pennies - from working on the veggie market in town, to collecting scrap metal and helping with peoples gardening or house maintenance.
"We can take comfort in knowing that after years of working with him in the Rainbow Centre - where we actually lost him to immigration detention for eight months at one point - he did eventually get his own little place, access to benefits and settlement status from the Home Office.
"And he was really proud of that.
"Vlad had a difficult life as a child and also when he arrived in the UK, but his final months have been happy for him.
"He was never a complainer anyway!"
Many more tributes have been posted on the Go Fund Me page for Mr Borovsky.
'We asked him 'Are you coming for dinner tonight Vlad?', and he famously said 'No, I am going home'...'
One reads: "Homelessness is a word that has become, sadly, so familiar.
"For many of us homelessness is something someone somewhere is dealing with, we can walk on by.
"It is faceless. Just now and again someone specific demonstrates and becomes the recognisable face of homelessness.
"Here in Folkestone, we are mourning the loss of one such person, Vladimir Borovsky.
"Vlad (Gemer) was known to so many in Folkestone.
"He became a very familiar figure on our streets. He spoke little English and struggled with as he would put it 'celebrating' with too much beer and yet he had great humility and dignity despite his circumstances.
"He did small jobs around Folkestone including helping on the market.
"The Rainbow Centre worked for many years with Vladimir and he did eventually get his own place with access to benefits and settlement status.
"At last year’s Winter Shelter, after he got his bedsit following so many years of homelessness we asked him 'Are you coming for dinner tonight Vlad?', and he famously said 'No, I am going home'.
"If ever there was someone who could be the representative, the example, the face, of homelessness, in Folkestone, it was Vladimir Gemer Borovsky."
Mrs Earnest said Mr Borovsky's close friend, Cameron Macdonald, who had also been supported by the Rainbow Centre, also passed away in October.
She said: "They are together now, again, somewhere up there."
To donate to the fundraiser, visit here.