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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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The saga of Nobby the Tramp

May 22 2009
A tale of bus shelters, hooliganism and double glazing Stories about Nobby, a rough sleeper in Peterborough, Lincolnshire, have gripped readers of the Peterborough Herald & Post, and divided opinion in the area. Having laid his hat in a bus shelter in Peterborough in the early 90s, he has continued to win column inches in the town's paper and stirred debate about attitudes to sleeping rough. Nobby was forced to move from his first bus shelter after disgruntled commuters complained that they had no option but to stand in the rain and wait for the bus while its inhabitant slept. But, it soon became evident that Nobby has a certain penchant for bus shelters after moving on and setting up home in a redundant bus shelter in Oundle road, Peterborough, where he has lived happily for over 10 years. But, on 16 November last Year, the Peterborough Herald & Post reported that Nobby returned from the local hospital, where he was receiving treatment for thrombosis, to find vandals had trashed his home and left his belongings sprawled all over the surrounding pavement. A shaken Nobby summed up the day's events by saying to the local press, "they removed a lot of stuff and left it in disarray - it's just a bit of bother, you know." The Herald & Post reported the outrage that this act elicited, and although some of our readers may find this type of thing an everyday event, the people of Peterborough jumped to the defence of this rough sleeper. The local paper recorded the many voices that expressed disbelief, saying, "how could people do such a thing?" A local councillor came down wielding a bundle of blankets and the bus shelter's owner, Orton Longueville Parish Council, undertook necessary repair work on Nobby's home. Shortly after the incident a local glazing firm fitted patio doors to the shelter in a bid to increase security. But, not everyone agreed with this outpouring of affection for Peterborough's most famous rough sleeper. One letter in the Herald & Post asked: "Has the world gone completely mad? Now we have a double glazing company wanting to fit doors and windows to a bus shelter for a tramp... Nobby, in my opinion, is a parasite to society. He should be made to live in a hostel, not in a place which looks like a rat-infested den." ‚Äö?Ѭ¢ Michael Ross, more popularly known in Peterborough as "Nobby the Tramp" has made frequent headlines for several years through a series of debacles, most notably when he duped the local newspaper into believing that he would realise his dream of competing in the North West of Ireland Open golf tournament. Ross took up the sport when a passer-by left a set of clubs at his bus shelter home, and he went on to publicly announce his desire to feature in the PGA European Tour coming up in the summer. Many regional newspapers and even a local radio station became embroiled in his golfing campaign in the build-up to the Irish tournament. The Herald & Post backed the outsider by providing sponsorship. However, as professionals teed off at Ballyliffin in County Donegal on the 25 August 2005, Ross was to be found behind his iconic home, the Oundle road bus shelter (pictured left), practising his swing. He told his sponsoring paper, "It wasn't a joke and I had good intentions of going and playing, but I guess it was not meant to be. I wasn't accepted." Appearing to bask in this new found pseudo-celebrity status, perhaps Ross was playing a different game altogether - he was later reported to have told a rival publication, the Evening Telegraph, that he had been pulling their leg all along. Ross returned the cash given to him to follow his sporting dream, and swiftly became a household name in Peterborough.