James English spent a week on the streets and admitted it was far tougher than he expected.

'I can see why people turn to drink and drugs' GLOW star sleeps rough over Christmas to make harrowing film about life on streets

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Date published: 9th Jan 2018

A reality TV star turned filmmaker lived rough in Glasgow over the festive season to expose the suffering of homeless people.

Former model James English, 33, who appeared in Glasgow reality show Glow and dated former pop star Kerry Katona, spent a week on the streets.

And he admits the ordeal ? during which he had no money or phone ? was far tougher than he expected.

James English from Glow (Image: Collect Unknown)
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He put himself through it to highlight the plight of Glasgow?s homeless and show the great work that is done for them by charities in a new documentary.

James, who has battled drink, drug and gambling problems, says the whole experience has left an indelible mark on him and he?s still trying to adjust to being back in his everyday life.

He said: ?My head is messed up now that I?m back into normality.

?You feel it?s a world within a world where you don?t exist in the human race and it?s such a weird feeling.

?I can see why people turn to drink and drugs. I?d never promote drinks and drugs but when people have that kind of life, they have nothing. It?s definitely been an awakening.?

James grew a beard but also wore a fake Santa beard and hat during his week on the streets so no one would recognise him. He spent his time moving from street to street trying to find somewhere to rest his head as well as begging for money in between.

James English spent a week sleeping rough at Christmas (Image: Internet Unknown)

He said: ?At first you can?t sleep and you hear every noise. Every time you close your eyes, you feel as if there is someone standing over you.

?There are shelters but there are only 30 or 40 beds so you go into bus stops or doorways.

?I would go to the Buchanan Galleries and beg for money and sometimes slept under a bridge.

?I got 82 during the week and I think that was because it was Christmas and there were more people wanting to give.

?I didn?t take my phone and I had only the clothes on my back and a sleeping bag as well as a Go Pro provided by my cameraman Gordon Campbell to film it all.

?I was lucky because it wasn?t too cold.?

James was given wet wipes and a survival kit with a toothbrush and toothpaste in it by some charity workers but he didn?t shower once during the whole experience.

He said: ?There are showers at some places but I didn?t want to deprive others of them.?

He also found himself caught short with nowhere to go on Christmas Eve and ended up defecating in a bag down a lane.

He said: ?I had to do it. It?s survival and there?s nothing you can do. It had to be done because everywhere was closed and there was no stopping it. I felt dirty but there was no option.?

James with Kerry Katona (Image: Instagram)
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James had Christmas dinner at a shelter. He said: ?They fed two or three hundred people and there were Christmas songs.

?There was a lot of violence around about Black Friday. I was with two friends on Buchanan Street and saw them being attacked.

?Some people told real horror stories about getting hit and battered, set on fire or getting peed on . They are the real heroes and became my friends.

?I realised it wasn?t all alcoholics and junkies who use food banks. A lot of people had two jobs and still can?t afford to feed their families.

?I went in blind and kept thinking that if my family and friends hadn?t been around when I was gambling, that I could have been there.

?When I got home on Boxing Day, I just felt so strange about everything. I was sad because I knew I had a family to go home to.?

James, who plans to release his film at the end of this month, is keeping in touch with the friends he made and trying to help them.

The reality star slept on different streets throughout the week (Image: Internet Unknown)

He said: ?I want to say a massive thanks to the City Mission, The Invisibles, Second Chance
Scotland and the Humanists.

?They were working round the clock in Glasgow providing shelter, giving out food and clothes every day and night and talking with homeless people.

?The Lodging House Mission is open 365 days a year offering a bed for the homeless and food, while Street Connect do 12-week drug programmes to help people with addictions.?

He added: ?I was only there for seven days but old Pete under the bridge has been there for 20 years.

?I?ve only scratched the surface and hope when we release the documentary that something more can be done.?

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