A homeless man captured on video playing piano at a church after a ”particularly bad night” on the streets has revealed his identity, writes SWNS Reporter Elizabeth Hunter.

Rhys Wynne-Jones, 32, had sought refuge at a volunteer organisation in Penzance during a freezing January evening. After entering St. Mary's Church and speaking with NightChurch volunteers, Rhys turned to his lifelong coping mechanism - music.

He began playing a rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - with volunteers and visitors alike gathering to watch the display. A volunteer posted a video of the performance on Facebook, and the video quickly spread, amassing over 10,000 views.

Awestruck commenters had one question on their minds - who is this man? Now Rhys has now come forward and is to play a special charity gig.

“I had become homeless, and I was living on the streets – and I’d been having a really bad night," Rhys said. “My mental health was going haywire, and I didn’t know what to do. I’d made friends with other people in the homeless community, and they’d told me about NightChurch Penzance.

“I went up to the church and I was very surprised by how friendly everybody was there. Because it was a church, I just asked if they had a piano. I thought the answer was going to be no, but they were absolutely lovely and showed me over to the piano.

“There were a lot of people there that night, from the homeless community and the volunteers, and they just started filing in and listening to me play. They asked if they could record me playing piano, and I said okay. I didn’t expect them to upload it to Facebook – that was a pleasant surprise!"

Rhys, who began playing the piano at the age of 12, was amazed by the reaction to his performance. After experiencing years of bullying and abuse, Rhys began turning to music to help him cope, but despite his talent, he still struggled with social confidence.

Rhys Wynne-Jones stands alongside piano at Penzance NightChurch
Rhys sought refuge at a volunteer organisation in Penzance (SWNS)

Rhys says that the reaction to the video has helped boost his self-esteem and encouraged him to come forward as the mystery piano player. “Playing piano is my coping mechanism in life," said Rhys.

“If things go wrong, I go and find a piano to play. It worked when I was getting bullied and it worked when my home life was difficult.

“It’s the thing in my life that makes me feel like everything’s going to be okay. When people wanted to come and listen to me, and were enjoying what they were hearing, it cheered me up.

“I only realised the video had been posted when I was walking down the street, and some strangers approached me asking if I was that piano player. There were loads of lovely comments which I really appreciated – it’s really helped me get my confidence back and it’s done me a world of good.”

Several commenters wanted to know if Rhys would be putting on a concert in the church - and after months of debating, he decided to take the plunge. Rhys will perform at St. Mary's Church on July 20 at 7:30pm. There will be no ticket price, with the church taking donations on the door.

Donations from the concert will help fund work done by NightChurch - a request made by Rhys, despite offers to give him the profits directly.

Rhys Wynne-Jones, 32, had sought refuge at a volunteer organisation in Penzance
Rhys will performing at St. Mary's Church on Saturday, July 20 (SWNS)

“We saw a lot of comments saying they would go to a concert at the church if I played. It took a while to decide if I wanted to do it or not, but I thought, what have I got to lose?

“The NightChurch said they could host the concert and have all the proceeds go to me to help me out, but I didn’t want that. I’d made a lot of friends in the homeless community, and I could see they needed a lot more help than I did.”

Since the video was posted, Rhys has begun living in sheltered accommodation thanks to charity St. Petrocs and believes things are looking up for him.

“My situation has really improved,” he said. "When the video was first posted, I didn’t have anywhere to go, but St. Petrocs charity in Penzance have helped me get some sheltered accommodation while I’m trying to find a home.

“I haven’t got a home yet, but I’m working on it, and there are some employment opportunities that I’ve been pursuing.”

Rhys hopes the concert will help to change the public's perception of homeless people, and show the public that homelessness isn't a personal failure.

“The main reason I’m doing this concert is because there’s a stigma around homelessness. Homeless people aren’t treated very nicely – and before I became homeless, I had similar views to the general public.

“Now that I’ve found myself in this situation, I’ve found that I was completely wrong, and the stigma is completely untrue. Just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean they’re a down-and-out. Some people want to get back to life and to succeed.

“Even though I am in this situation and it’s knocked me down, I’m getting back up again. I want to make the most of the gifts that the universe has given me.”