For many people, the idea of a hot meal and roof over your head something they take for granted.

But for Bob Oath, going without either used to be a frequent occurrence.

The 33-year-old now lives in Halstead but he did not always have enjoy a warm bed and the support of a community.

Bob was homeless for more than eight years. He used to work in Denbigh, north Wales, after moving there as a 14-year-old in the early 2000s.

He lived with his then partner Heather and their then two-year-old son Leo.

Owning a restaurant at the former Devine nightclub in the town, Bob says life was going well.

But that changed when, he says, his ex disappeared with Leo to Spain.

To this day, Bob says he still hasn’t seen his son since then although he still hopes to meet him again one day.

Suddenly, Bob’s world started to crumble. He suffered a mental breakdown which lead to his business closing and he became homeless in 2013.

Bob also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction following the traumatic experience until he took up the sport of BMX riding which, he says, saved his life and helped him get clean.

Bob then decided to travel to Essex to reconnect with his mum but this proved unsuccessful.

Bob Oath

Bob Oath

This hit Bob hard and he admitted the experience “sent me even further off the rails”.

Now in Essex, Bob began travelling along the coastline in a bid to make a name for himself.

Going from Witham to Southend and then Walton, Bob was stopped by police only to find out there was a global pandemic bearing down on the nation.

He said: “They told me there was a pandemic but I didn’t know anything about it.

“They put me on a train to Colchester and I was offered a bed in an old people’s home.

“There were about 30 homeless people waiting for a bus but they said they didn’t know me, they thought I might just be a sofa surfer so I was left behind.

“After that I stayed in a bin at my mate’s house in Witham.

Community - Bob Oath is loved by the residents of Halstead after efforts such as raising £250 with a 24-hour BMX ride

Community - Bob Oath is loved by the residents of Halstead after efforts such as raising £250 with a 24-hour BMX ride

“That’s when I contacted Braintree Council and they’d already sort of heard about me.

“I’ve really got to take my hat off to them because they’ve gone out of their way to help me when they didn’t have to.”

Bob was temporarily housed at the Dorrington Hotel in Halstead for the worst of the pandemic.

It was here he struck up a life-long bond with the town.

During his time at the Dorrington, after learning Bob only had 40p to his name, residents banded together to supply him with much-needed food, clothing and other items.

Then, after mounds of rubbish were left behind at a field in Box Mill Lane, Bob took it upon himself to clean up the area.

Bob Oath raised £250 with his 24-hour BMX ride

Bob Oath raised £250 with his 24-hour BMX ride

About 100 bags of rubbish had been found on the site.

Bob said the mass clean up was his way of thanking Halstead and its people for their hospitality.

From there, Bob was also able to raise £250 for charity with a gruelling 24-hour BMX ride fundraiser.

Bob is making a living in the town, doing odd jobs for the community.

Due to numerous medical conditions, including a possibility of PTSD, Bob also receives benefits.

Bob also runs his own non-profit charity, O4th which hopes to create opportunities for the homeless.

When his time at the Dorrington ended, Bob the found rented accommodation in the town.

He said: “The community around here is amazing. I came out of my house and people know who I am, I feel a bit like a celebrity.

“I’ve been to a lot of places but in Halstead, people will help you.

“I would love to make a film about my life.

“My landlady also deserves a mention because she got in touch to say I’ve got this property and its probably in your price range.

“She phoned the estate agent to ask if she could rent it to me, but they wouldn’t take on someone who has been homeless.

“So she pulled all her properties from the estate agent. She said she was mortified with what they’d said and rented the place out to me.

“I feel so much happier with myself now although I do still feel like something might happen and I’ll end up out on the streets again. I feel a little bit lost with it, its like I’ve forgotten what it is like to have a place.”