István Kakas died from leukaemia at the age of 52 last month. He lived in Bath, a town in the UK where people are now commemorating him, reports 444.
A reader of 444 noticed in The Big Issue that the homeless man had died and, thinking of the current situation of homeless people in Hungary, he sent the news to the Hungarian magazine:
„I wanted to share his story with you because of the inhuman treatment of the homeless in Hungary nowadays. Maybe it will be good food for thought. I just want to make sure he will be properly remembered if you write about him, not just in England, but in his home country as well.”
– their reader wrote. The English media paid their respects too: BBC, The Big Issue, for whom he sold magazines, and Sommersetlive all wrote about him. The latter published a well-detailed article about Mr Kakas.
István was like an attraction in town, a city institution; he knew most of the people of Bath. However, we still do not know much about his story. He once told The Big Issue he served in the army and then worked as a chef under Gordon Ramsey and Michelin-star chef Michael Caines. He moved to Bath at around 2010, and he appeared almost every day since then on the Halfpenny Bridge of the River Avon, selling the copies of Big Issue. Locals all highlighted that he was always smiling and it was nice speaking with him. After a while, he started sweeping the bridge and decorating it with flowers once in a while.
In 2014, a father and his daughter were crossing the bridge by bicycle. The 8-year-old girl fell into the river, and his father jumped in after her, but could not get themselves out to the shore. Luckily, István was there to help and pull them out with his sweep. Mr Kakas was shocked that people were just standing there recording the scenes with their phones instead of helping the troubled family. He instantly became the hero of Bath, and he had been given a Mayor of Bath’s Good Citizen of the Year Award.
Locals say the bridge should be renamed Istvan’s Bridge. Many people paid their respects by putting flowers, joint cards and candles on it. Gemma, Andy and Robyn left a card with flowers on the bridge, saying:
“Thank you for all of the chats, smiles and high fives. You always made our day brighter!”
He was a regular churchgoer: St Matthews’ Church offered to bury him free of charge. At the same time, locals started a fundraiser so that they could place a little plaque on the bridge and to make him a decent funeral feast. If any money remains, they will give it to Dorothy House, where Mr Kakas spent his last days receiving hospice care. Their goal had been GBP 3000, but they already collected one and a half times more.
If you wish to visit the page and donate, click here.
Earlier, we wrote about the Hungarian Government banning homelessness in Hungary. Click here to learn more.
Featured Image: facebook.com/bigissueuk/
Source: 444.hu/ Somersetlive.com