Story of rough sleeper an inspiration

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A recovering alcoholic who spent nearly a quarter of a century sleeping rough is among those acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Jimmy Carlson spent 23 years homeless or living in hostels, but turned his life around and today is awarded an OBE for services to homeless people.

The 64-year-old served for five years in the Royal Pioneer Corps (RPC) – which later became part of the Royal Logistic Corps.

After being discharged from the forces in 1973, he spent 23 years addicted to alcohol, sleeping on the streets.

But in 1996 he stopped drinking and dedicated his life to improving homelessness services.

For the past 15 years Mr Carlson, from Islington, north London, has inspired thousands of homeless people to transform their lives and to help others.

He has worked with Groundswell – a self-help organisation for the homeless – and helped bring homeless people into contact with Ministers from both the Labour and coalition governments.

Recently he was a member of the Homeless People’s Commission which collected views and presented policy recommendations to the House of Lords.

Mr Carlson was also involved in setting up The Haven, a club where people in recovery from substance misuse can meet in an alcohol and drug- free environment and help each other get their lives back on track.