Former Hostage Launches Charity

Former hostage Terry Waite has launched a branch of a homeless charity in Medway at Rochester Cathedral. Mr Waite is president of Emmaus UK, which offers homeless men and women a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives within a community.

Politicians and business leaders attended the cathedral service to mark the launch of Emmaus Medway. Mr Waite was kidnapped in Beirut in 1987 and held captive for 1,763 days, four years in solitary confinement.

Emmaus Medway wants to raise about £3m, and open a centre in Kent in less than 18 months.

Fundraising chairman James Gilborn said the charity was aiming to help about 30 rough sleepers living on the streets.

He said the money would pay for the building and set up enterprises, such as recycling furniture for resale, to make the project self-sufficient.

“We hope that people will come forward and offer their support and in a year or 18 months, we’ll be well on the way to raising that figure.

“There are homeless people in most towns and city centres. Here in Medway, you don’t have to go to far to see people on the streets.”