AN aspiring young journalist who was once homeless landed an interview with a stage star.
Stephen Kimberley, who lives at the Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge in Sunderland, was given the chance to grill actor Sean Jones, who plays Mickey in Blood Brothers.
Sean, one of the show’s troubled twins, agreed to pay a visit to the centre in High Street East and spent time with staff and residents.
It was a dream come true for Stephen, 24, who is writing up the interview for the Salvation Army’s in-house magazine.
He said: “I asked about his life and a couple of questions about Blood Brothers and asked for his views on homelessness.
“Some of his friends had been homeless, so he had experienced it through them.
“He was very interesting and down-to-earth and friendly.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, so I just went with the flow.”
At 21, Stephen found himself without a roof over his head after his mum died.
The local authority where they had been living refused to let him take over the tenancy and he was forced to sleep on friends’ settees.
But after being found a place with the Salvation Army, he was able to start turning his life around.
Stephen, 24, now has a job at a city centre pub and goes to college in Shiney Row. He is hoping to land a place at university in York to study social sciences and journalism.
Managers at Swan Lodge contacted the production company for Blood Brothers, which visited the Sunderland Empire, who agreed to set up the meeting after discovering Stephen’s passion for journalism.
“They are very encouraging and keep pushing me to keep going with my course and encouraging me to do my degree,” he said.
“If I hadn’t come to Swan Lodge I’d probably be doing nothing, to be honest – just moving from house to house and having a fair bit to drink, going down the wrong path.”
Swan Lodge manager Christine Tait said: “We were absolutely bowled over by Sean visiting the centre, as he had such a busy schedule.
“It was a dream come true for Stephen who wanted to interview one of the stars from Blood Brothers.
“Sean expressed his interest in homelessness and said ‘it’s very humbling what people like you do for those in need, you should be proud’.”