Beirut hostage Terry Waite to open Hebburn charity shop

Terry Waite at the Customs House with Sue Wilson, Emmaus North East and companions Paul Barnes, Anthony Flower and Leigh Armour.
Terry Waite at the Customs House with Sue Wilson, Emmaus North East and companions Paul Barnes, Anthony Flower and Leigh Armour.

Former Beirut hostage Terry Waite will be in South Tyneside this weekend to officially launch a charity’s two new bid to help the homeless.

Mr Waite will highlight Emmaus North East’s work by cutting a ribbon to open its social enterprise shop in St James Mall, Hebburn, at 10.30am.

As president of the Emmaus Federation, he will then visit the charity’e support home in Stanhope Road, South Shields.

Emmaus has invested £850,000 in creating the 15-bedroom centre - which provides accommodation and support to people made homeless.

His visit, on Saturday, is the culmination of around two years of work by the charity to establish a presence in South Tyneside.

Sue Wilson CBE, president of Emmaus North East, said: “Terry really appreciates having a sense of home and of having people around and feeling safe and secure.

“He will cut the ribbon and make a short speech in Hebburn, and we would love people to come along and meet him.

“Emmaus has received a tremendous welcome in South Tyneside and we look forward to working here.”

Mr Waite, a former envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was seized by terror group Hezbollah in 1987.

He spent 1,763 days in captivity, before being released in Lebanon in 1992, becoming resident of the Emmaus Federation shortly afterwards.

His experience gave him insight into what Emmaus describes as the misery, isolation, fear, boredom and despair that many homeless people go through.

Its South Shields centre, created from a former children’s home, is its 29th UK community residence.

The charity’s Hebburn outlet will sell a variety of furniture, books, fashion, and collectables.

The shop, and another at Low Fell, Gateshead, provide a place for companions to gain new skills and re-build confidence.

More information on Emmaus is at www.emmaus.org.uk