SLEEPING ROUGH: Nat Spary (left) and Darrell Hiles at the Basement Soup Kitchen in Toowoomba.
SLEEPING ROUGH: Nat Spary (left) and Darrell Hiles at the Basement Soup Kitchen in Toowoomba. Kevin Farmer

Kind offers for Olympian turned homeless man

DARRELL Hiles' tale of going from an Olympian to living on the streets just shows anyone can become homeless.

But he may not be sleeping rough for much longer.

Last week, The Chronicle ran an article about Mr Hiles living on the streets.

In his younger years he competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He was also named the super lightweight International Boxing Organisation world champion in 1995.

Mr Hiles has lived in St George and Goondiwindi and now finds himself on the streets of Toowoomba after a range of family issues.

His story was shared online, with the article reaching thousands of readers.

It went so far that a family member in Western Australia saw the article and rang their cousin Tracey Bateman in Rockhampton.

Mrs Bateman was shocked when she realised her cousin was sleeping on the cold, dangerous streets.

She said she would do anything to help him get back on his feet again.

"In our late teens we were quite close and he is such a kind man," she said.

"When I moved to St George and was new in town he looked out for me and I want to repay him and do the same for him now.

"There is no way I'm letting someone in my family live on the streets.

"It broke my heart to read his story."

Mrs Bateman offered to drive and pick him up from Toowoomba and even help him get a job.

"He can stay with my husband and I for as long as he needs to," she said.

"Our family sticks together and we help each other out."

Mrs Bateman wanted to put a call out to Mr Hiles and asked that he call her.

Mr Hiles has been visiting the Basement Soup Kitchen on and off for the past two weeks.

Coordinators Nat and Tiffany Spary said they would keep an eye out for him to pass on the message.

Mrs Spary said it could be hard to predict a homeless person's movements.

"I've seen him quite a few times over the past week. I hope he comes in again soon so we can pass on the message," she said.

"It is wonderful that someone wants to help Darrell get back on his feet again."

Not only does Mr Hiles' cousin want to open her home to him, a couple in Brisbane invited him to stay with them.

Scot Hansen approached The Chronicle and said he also hoped to get a message to Mr Hiles.

"My wife and I live on the south side of Brisbane and currently have a spare room. We extend him an invitation to come and stay with us until he is back on his feet," he said.

Mr Hiles is encouraged to reverse call Mrs Bateman on 0439512265 or visit the Basement Soup Kitchen for more information on both offers.



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