St Andrews student helps homeless woman

Elizabeth Gray has spearheaded a campaign to raise money for St Andrews homeless lady Julie. Image: Elizabeth Gray
Elizabeth Gray has spearheaded a campaign to raise money for St Andrews homeless lady Julie. Image: Elizabeth Gray

A St Andrews University student started a fundraising campaign for a homeless woman after stopping to chat to her on the street.

Elisabeth Gray, a fourth year social anthropology student, started a Crowdfunder page to support local homeless woman Julie after passing her on the town’s Market Street.

After the campaign was online for only 11 days, 45 backers came forward to help raise the £500 target - including £50 from Fife North East SNP MP Stephen Gethins.

Elisabeth said: “I just kept seeing her [Julie] in the street and she makes eye contact with you, so she’s difficult to avoid!

“She was constantly looking at people and smiling at them.

“One day, she said ‘Hi, how are you?’ and we talked. I offered to buy her a sandwich and to see if I could help her out.

“I was later sitting in a pub with friends, listening to people talking about the refugee crisis who were saying that we need to help our own first.

“I told them about Julie, who they’d walked past in the street, and decided to do my part.”

Julie, a veterinary nurse who has ambitions to become a surgeon, escaped from an abusive household and chose to sleep rough in St Andrews instead of her native town of Kirkcaldy because of the “kinder and more generous” people there.

She was often seen with a sign detailing her benefits cut and her Jack Russell dog Tilly, who has since been separated from her.

The successful Crowdfunder campaign has also coincided with Julie securing council accommodation in St Andrews.

Elisabeth says she plans to give Julie the money once she has moved in to her new flat and will help her in the future.