Former heroin addict turned estate agent helps homeless ex-con

Lara Wadey and Paul Herridge
Lara Wadey and Paul Herridge

A woman who beat her drug addiction hell is helping another person in need get back on their feet.

Lara Wadey from Aylesbury was in and out of rehab for years as she battled heroin and crack addictions, as well as anorexia.

The 35 year old mother-of-one has now been clean for a decade and works as an estate agent.

Last year she met Paul Herridge, a 48-year-old homeless addict who had just spent six months in prison for breaching a restraining order.

But rather than walk on by as some people would have, Miss Wadey struck up a friendship with Mr Herridge and has now arranged a place for him to live.

Miss Wadey said: “The first time I met Paul a bird had just pooed on his arm and I said ‘that’s good luck’, and that’s how we became friends.

“At first he didn’t trust me, but because I had been there he’s willing to listen.”

As they became good friends Miss Wadey agreed to speak with a landlord friend of hers about getting Mr Herridge somewhere to stay. The landlord agreed and within two days Mr Herridge had a roof over his head. Now he is working to pay his way and get his life back on track.

Miss Wadey said: “You had this guy who was homeless and no one was willing to help him. There should be some sort of stepping stone to get him back into the community. The whole system sucks.”

Mr Herridge described Miss Wadey as being ‘like an angel’ who came into his life to help him.

He said: “Without her I wouldn’t be here now, I’d be back in prison or worse.

“I’m never going to forget her. She’s like family.”

“A lot of recognition has to go to other people as well, like the guy who has taken me in and given me work. It’s all about second chances.”

Miss Wadey says her time as an addict was like ‘hell’. She said: “It’s something you have no control over. I couldn’t hold down a job, I lost my boyfriend and my house and was in and out of rehab. I’m from a really good family and background and it just shows that addiction can grab you.”