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Tributes to a man who had no home but many friends

3rd February 2021

Matt Dixon

A former airline pilot who lived in a football pitch dug out in Truro’s Boscawen Park has died. Bryan Pesce chose to sleep rough for eight years, before moving to Hayle to live in a caravan late last year. He would often be seen reading in his hole-up in the park and he was popular with Truroians who would often take him provisions.

Local resident Paul Caruana said: “He had many friends in Truro, lots of whom would pop in to see that he was coping OK. “Some would stop and chat, others would bring him food regularly. He was a very kind and intelligent man who loved to read. He was very independent and lived off what little he had.

“He was never one to feel self pity, as he had chosen his lifestyle and made the most of it.” Now friends of Bryan want to put a memorial plaque at Sunny Corner, one of Bryan’s “reading rooms” as well as arranging a floral tribute for his funeral.

Any surplus funds will be shared amongst the support groups that helped him through tough times, including Truro Methodist Church, St Petrocs, the food bank and the local breakfast club.

Paul added: “Bryan had an impact on those who grew to know and like him. That was evident by the numbers that cared for and offered him help when he needed it. We feel that he needs to be remembered in the best way possible. He will be missed by many.”

He recounts one story in which Bryan, using his old age bus pass, went to John O’Groats to start his sponsored walk to Land’s End in aid of children’s hospices in both Scotland and England. He found that his bus pass wasn’t valid on some buses in Scotland but was let on for free when they found out what he was doing.

The journey up took three weeks to complete and the whole journey took months. He raised over £1,500 for those causes. Paul added: “Bryan rarely had any money available to spend as he was declined his state pension, despite working and paying taxes for over 40 years. He went to court to fight for it and managed to upset the judge. He fell out with him, said some unsavoury words and walked out of court minus his pension!

He did, however, have an American friend he could call on when the going got really tough. We are trying to track his friend down to inform him of Bryan’s passing.”

Many people would pre-pay for hot drinks for Bryan to access in the cafe in Boscawen Park. Many others would regularly turn up with plated meals or hot food and during last year’s lockdown, he was short of long life milk.

Paul put a post on social media and he had more than enough delivered to his dug out home in Boscawen Park. During 2020, Bryan suffered with serious leg problems which limited his mobility and when he was almost fully recovered, he decided that he would move to Falmouth for the winter.

Paul paid a couple of visits but never found him, before discovering that he had moved to live in a caravan in Hayle, where he passed away.

A JustGiving page has been set up to raise funds for Bryan’s memorial plaque and floral tribute. If you would like to donate, visit the Just-Giving webpage