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Homeless man who is much loved by the people of Barming in Maidstone is to leave hospital

People are being urged to keep an eye out for a homeless man who is back on the streets following a spell in hospital.

Rodger, who sleeps rough on the streets of Maidstone, was at the centre of an outpouring of community spirit in the run up to Christmas when people in the Barming area realised he was not to be found in his usual haunts.

Rodger is a well-known face in Barming
Rodger is a well-known face in Barming

Kind-hearted strangers left donations of food and warm clothes for him at his regular spot in St Andrew's Road, which were collected up by Sarah Daniell while he was recuperating in Maidstone Hospital.

Ms Daniell, who runs the Pukka Ponies animal welfare charity, says Rodger is due to be discharged today, but despite freezing temperatures he has indicated his wish to return to life on the street.

She says people will have to respect his decision to carry on as he was before his hospital stay, but she urges people who recognise him to spot by for a chat and make sure he is OK.

"We want to do the best for Rodger but also support his wishes, so for now we are going to take a step back and let him live his life the way he wishes," she said.

"We will be here to support for future and any concerns can be sent to us we will do our best to support however possible.

The note left on Rodger's tent in St Andrew's Road, Barming, in Maidstone, during his stay in hospital
The note left on Rodger's tent in St Andrew's Road, Barming, in Maidstone, during his stay in hospital

"Everyone has done as much as they can, some lovely things have been donated, gloves, scarves, hats."

Rodger, who is in his early 50s and has been described as a talented keyboard player, has been a familiar face in Barming for many years, and once appeared in the pages of the Kent Messenger when we reported on a generous scheme at Barming Fish and Chips where customers could purchase an extra meal for a local homeless person.

A 'Friends of Rodger' page on Facebook which was set up to coordinate the collection of donations last year will remain open so any concerns about his welfare can be passed on.

In the meantime, Ms Daniell has urged everyone to "just be a friendly neighbour" and look out for a gentleman who is much-loved in the community.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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