Over the last 36 hours social media has been awash with rumour and hearsay speculating over the disappearance of Arthur, sometimes known as the “Rastatramp,” from Leith Walk.
He’s a local celebrity is Arthur. Indeed, he’s so well loved by locals, that he has a Facebook page dedicated to him that over 4300 people like. When Majestic Wine fenced off a place where he often slept, there was a public outcry in support of him.
When flowers started to appear on Leith Walk, some people feared the worst and assumed he had died.
But subsequently several notes have appeared, presumably from people who know, to reassure people who may be missing his placid presence on the street that he is not dead. It would seem he is in fact in Hospital.
A letter from PC Gordon Duff, from Police Scotland paper said: “I am aware that there has been speculation on social networking sites regarding the whereabouts of Arthur Williams who is known to sleep rough in the Leith Walk area.
“Arthur was taken to hospital for medical treatment 14th May 2013 and has been there since. Although he has some minor health issues, there are at the moment no serious concerns.
“Arthur is being well looked after him and when I saw him he looked happy in his surroundings.
“Arthur’s belongings have been removed from Leith Walk and stored for him.
“Social services and the Police have received numerous enquiries regarding Arthur and we are continuing to pass on messages of support to him from members of the community.
“I will try feedback information in the coming weeks and months about Arthur, through local media.”
Get well soon Arthur. And the way that local residents and public services have rallied around to support him really is awesome.
— Breige Swift (@BreigeSwift) May 17, 2013
— Sean (@Seanyboyhmfc) May 17, 2013
Photo credit: Melted Beatle on Instagram
Update 18/05/13: Since this post was published, someone has quite rightly pointed out that calling Mr Williams “rastatramp” in the headline of this blog post could be seen as disrespectful.
This was not the intention at all. Until I read the Police note I had no idea what Arthur’s surname was – and I suspected many Leithers were in the same boat.
I wanted to share the official Police message, and some of the unofficial notes too to help counter the rumours on social media – but thought if I only used his real name that less people would be able to find the information they were looking for – and the post would therefore be less effective.
And now that I’ve had a chance to look at the search engine queries that people have used to find this blog post in the last 24 hours – it would appear that my suspicions were correct. Lot’s of folk, rightly or wrongly, seem to be searching for “rasta tramp” or “arthur” and there’s also a surprising number of folk also getting his name wrong completely.
If this post helps to stop any daft rumours about Mr Williams, and perhaps helps to challenge some stereotypes that some people may have about him, then the post will have done its job.