The Hawthorns Braintree, Essex

Hawthorns Resident Releases Poem Book

Hundreds of pounds has been raised for homeless people in Braintree at the launch of the latest book by a poetic pensioner. John Giffard, 87, a resident of The Hawthorns, in Meadow Park, Braintree, officially released Through The Hawthorn Bush, at a special event at the retirement home on June 14. All of the profits raised from the sale of the book will go to Hope House, a short-stay homeless centre based in Braintree.

Special guests at the book launch included chairman of Braintree Council Stephen Kirby, chairman of the board of trustees of Hope House Tony Britten and representatives from churches in the area. Mr Giffard, a retired police officer, said: “The launch went very well and we sold around £400 worth of books.”The chairman of Braintree Council Stephen Kirby was very kind and he even bought a copy of the book himself.

“It is exciting from my point of view and it gives me a great sense of achievement.”I am pleased that I am able to do something that is good for others.”It being a local charity and being run completely by volunteers makes it a very worthy cause and I know that their plans for the future are very ambitious.”The well-versed poet only discovered he had a knack for writing at the age of 81, shortly before finding out he suffers from Myasthenia Gravis, a condition similar to MS. He has raised money for several charities with books in the past, and in 2014 raised more than £2,000 with his book The Medal, released for the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.Hope House recently completed renovations to a house in Manor Street, Braintree, and are hoping to raise extra finds to purchase their next property in the town. Mr Britten said: “The first property has been very successful but there is a high demand for housing for the homeless in our area and we want to help more.”It is great to have people like John help and The Hawthorns and the council have been very supportive along with all of the churches involved.”

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