MOURNERS gathered to pay their respects to a man who 'touched people's lives'. 

Voluntarily homeless, Robert Forbes was a familiar face around Wimborne and frequently spent his time chatting with residents.

Rob, who lived outside M&S in Wimborne and Tesco in Ferndown, passed away in March at the age of 65.

His funeral was held at Wimborne Minster on April 17.

Friends and acquaintances of Rob met outside M&S, greeted by Reverend Cannon Andrew Rowland, who helped to arrange the memorial service.

Guests were invited to share thoughts and memories about the man described as 'much loved within the community.'

A funeral attendee said: "He was the kindest man. He never asked for anything from anyone.

"He chose to sleep rough. Rob once said that even if he had won the lottery, he wouldn't have bought a house; the outside was his home."

Another Wimborne resident said: "Rob was so friendly; he loved my dog, and we often talked about books we'd read."

The procession walked through Wimborne to the church, where a more formal service was held for Rob.

Revd Cannon said: "Rob was somebody who touched our lives.

"It is nice to be able to thank people for their loving generosity towards him."

Rob's ashes were spread outside Wimborne Minster, and a minute's silence was held as funeral-goers paid their respects.

Sally Lynch, who lives and works in Wimborne, has set up a collection pot to raise money for funeral costs along with a bench and plaque in Rob's honour.

So far, residents and businesses have raised more than £300, and they will continue fundraising until the end of the month.

Money will also be donated to the church and will go towards supporting rough sleepers.

A bench will be placed outside the M&S in Wimborne with a plaque that reads: "Friend Robert Forbes, you will always be with us.

"Rest in peace. Love all the residents and managers of Wimborne."

When speaking about Rob, Sally said: "He was so friendly, loving and caring.

"It was so horrible seeing him out on the street, but that was where he wanted to be."

People have been paying their respects by scattering flowers, balloons, cards, and candles around where he used to sleep.