Memorial in Northampton for 22-year-old rough sleeper Kristian set to be attended by more than 100 people

Kristian Olstein asleep in a doorway in Northampton
Kristian Olstein asleep in a doorway in Northampton

A memorial service is to be held for a 22-year-old who was familiar to thousands who saw him sleeping rough in Northampton.

Kristian Olstein died on February 18 at Northampton General Hospital but had spent much of the last three years living on the streets.

He stood out for many visitors to the town centre - where he would often sit during the day, outside DW Sports or near All Saints Church - both because of his young age and his guitar playing.

Stan Robertson, a street chaplain, will hold a memorial at All Saints next month and is raising money towards Kristian's funeral costs.

He said: "People might remember him for a few things. He was young and he had his guitar and he used to sleep on a giant teddy. He used it as a pillow until it got taken away with some of his things.

"The teddy tells you a bit about him. It just shows how young he was, really."

Although a start time is to be confirmed, the memorial service will be held at the town's civic church on Saturday, March 30.

"Kristian used to like All Saints Church and like the building.

"I've had people contact me from Kettering, from West Sussex, from Ireland.

"There's quite a lot of devastated people. It's really hit people right across the community.

"Seeing him go that young or suddenly hearing about it is shocking.

"If everyone comes who have said they will, there will be 100 plus people."

A friend has Kristian's guitar and Stan plans to make the instrument the focal point of the service.

"People would see him there with his guitar. He loved to play music. He had dreams of making it big in the industry."

Stan got to know Kristian after he began his work with homeless people in November 2017, talking with him in the town centre, St James, and the Mount Pleasant area off Kettering Road.

He told Stan he was afraid to ask the authorities for help or take advantage of the SWEP scheme because he became convinced he would be deported.

Kristian told him he had come to the UK from Lithuania aged 19, found a girlfriend and was living a steady life, but some time in the subsequent three years became homeless.

"In that time he's become an addict on our streets. That's what gets you more than anything else - how can that happen?.

"This is a failure of the whole of society. It's everybody's failure.

"Kristian's story has to make some changes."