Elli's random act of kindness to passing stranger

Chris Lewis and Elli Westwood
Chris Lewis and Elli Westwood

When teenager Elli Westwood spotted what she thought was a homeless man pitching his tent in Avenham Park she didn’t hesitate to help.

Knowing that Preston was about to be battered by Storm Brian, Elli, 16, from Cottam warned that the park might flood if the River Ribble was to burst its banks.

The man was actually fundraiser Chris Lewis, who is walking the entire length of the British coast for charity.

Elli, who works at the Pavilion Cafe at Avenham and Miller Parks, then provided him with a food parcel and organised a two night stay for him at the Clifton Park Hotel in St Annes to get him out of the awful weather - paying for one night herself.

Since then, her random act of kindness has been shared dozens of times on social media with many hailing her an ‘inspiration.’

Elli, who was crowned Junior Miss Britain in April and has raised more £10,000 for charity, said: “I thought Chris was a homeless man settling down for the night and I’ve worked with the homeless on many occasions so I just thought it was best to let him know about the expected weather. I would do the same for anyone in that situation.

“I paid for the first night out of my own money. On the Tuesday morning I rang the hotel again to see if I could get another room. The hotel provided it for free after hearing his story. Chris was over the moon.”

In August, 37-year-old Chris set off on a 14,000km expedition, walking the UK coastline to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

After talking about their experiences fundraising, Elli is now going to join Chris in the near future on his walk.

Elli said: “I’ve spoke to him about doing some fund-raising for SSAFA in the future.”

Chris, a former British Army paratrooper, was unavailable for comment.