Former homeless teenager became Olympic torchbearer
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
A former homeless teenager who managed to turn his life around became an Olympic torchbearer during the summer.
Mark Morrow, 22, became homeless after leaving the army in 2008 due to ill health.
The then 17-year-old ended up living at Liverpool Housing Trust's (LHT) Alt Bank House homeless hostel in Fazakerley, where he started to rebuild his life with help from support staff.
Mark, a talented athlete in his youth, rediscovered his love of sport and started playing for the hostel football team.
He became the top athlete in the Homeless Games 2010 and 2011 as well as helping out as a volunteer when he wasn’t competing.
In recognition of his achievements, Mark was nominated by Sport England to be an Olympic torchbearer in the summer.
He now travels the country visiting hostels and shelters talking about his experiences and encouraging and inspiring others to change their lives for the better.
He said: “I was shocked but really proud to be nominated. Carrying the torch was a fantastic experience.
“I do the talks because I really want to give something back as a thank you for all the help I was given when I was homeless.
“The help I got from the staff at the homeless hostel was invaluable particularly my support worker John. He really helped me when I first came to the hostel and I still talk to him now.
“He motivated me and helped put stability in my life. He helped me gain a positive and clear head.“
He now has his own flat in Woolton and this May became a father when his son Jacob was born.
Mark, who is now working full-time as a shop fitter for a Huyton firm, said: “Being an Olympic torchbearer got me that job, I’m sure of it. I was seen as reliable and I was offered the job straightaway after the interview. It’s been a good year 2012.”