Memorial plaque planned for Wakefield homeless charity pioneer
Ernest, who started the homeless shelter Community Awareness Programme (CAP) in 1997 with his wife Elisabeth, passed away in November last year after a long battle with cancer. He was 74.
Elisabeth said: “He did not let it change his life and was determined he was going to press through, but it became very aggressive. He dedicated 25 years of his life to CAP.
“He was a perfectionist, and he was never afraid to speak his mind but was very soft on the inside, and could be very emotional and loving. He was a good man.”
The couple launched the charity in the basement of the New Life Christian Centre church they attended. It was inspired by the deprivation the couple witnessed on a trip to London.
They moved to Wood Street in 2004, then to its current home on Market Street 10 years later. The charity still helps hundreds of people each year who are either homeless or have found themselves in poverty.
Ernest was well known, respected and liked in the community, but only limited people could attend his funeral last year due to Covid restrictions.
Elisabeth said: “We knew there would be lots of people who would want to pay their respects but we were in lockdown and there were only 30 people allowed at the funeral.
“People lined Market Street, both sides, four or five deep and there was an applause.
“It was amazing, it gives me goose bumps thinking about it.
“It was so moving. I had held it together until that point.
“There’s a hole there that can’t be filled, and I don’t think it will.”
Having raised £3,000 through Just Giving after Ernest’s passing, most of the cash will go back into the charity kitty, but some will be used to pay for the plaque.