The Sunday Times UK : If I were a poor man The millionaire Charan Gill took up a television challenge to survive with just £10 in his pocket and change the lives of less wealthy people he met. He found more than he bargained for I had never heard of Thetford. It turned out it was a small rural town in East Anglia. But that was no help to me I wasnt even sure where East Anglia was. Yet here I was, Thetford-bound on a train from Glasgow with £10 in my pocket and no idea what was waiting for me. The deal was this. I had agreed to take part in a TV documentary called The Secret Millionaire. The rules were simple. In a strange town I had to survive on £10 until I got myself a job. I had to pay my way rent, electricity, council tax and food. I would also have to last 10 days, meeting people as I went and learning what I could about their lives. The aim was to find a few people who, given a little financial help from me, could change the direction of their lives with the proviso they had to deserve and earn it. For me it was a journey that would allow me to meet some remarkable people, including a man called Morgan who taught me lessons about the value of money and of friendship. As I headed south I found myself wondering about all the people who are uprooted, especially children leaving home for the first time, and find themselves on a train to somewhere they dont know. I felt a touch of that when I stepped out of the station at Thetford, a stranger in a strange town carrying a wee bit of paper with the address of where I was meant to stay. At least I had that. My first instinct when I arrived was to jump in a taxi. Its what you do, isnt it? But the driver told me it was £3 to the town centre. That meant Id have only £7 left and I had to eat, get to work in the morning and have lunch. There was no option: I lugged my suitcase the half mile into town, where Id been told Id find a job agency willing to help me find work. Thetford turned out to be a pleasant surprise an archetypal little English town with lots of flower-filled hanging baskets. But there were no black people, no Chinese, no Asians. It was white. I thought to myself: this is strange. But the next day I was sitting on a bench watching the world go by and listening to the voices of people who passed. I realised how many were not speaking English. The place was full of Russians, Lithuanians, Poles and Portuguese people who had travelled a long way to better themselves. In the interview at the job agency I knew exactly what their first question would be: what was I willing to do? I had my answer ready: Anything. The next day the agency had a job for me in a small factory and I signed up on the understanding I would be paid at the end of my shift. Work sorted, I set off to find where home was going to be for the next 10 days. I wasnt worried that I had become too comfortable in my life to do something like this. I live in a very nice house in Pollokshields, but I dont forget where Im from a wee village in the Punjab and what things were like for me when I was a young man in Glasgow. The flat I had been assigned was not as bad as it might have been. It was in a council estate called Abbey Farm, known locally as The Abbey, which reminded me of Easterhouse or Drumchapel. I was on the first floor of a walk-up and it was basic: a couch, table and single bed. Getting used to the bed was one of the worst things. I hadnt slept in a single bed for a long time and to add to my difficulties it was on wheels and the floor was covered in lino. Every time I turned over, the bed skidded across the floor. That first evening I found a small shop run by Asians and I bought Pot Noodle, cold meat, bread and some milk. It left me with £2.60, but it meant I could eat that night, in the morning and make something for lunch. Making my sandwiches I felt like I did in my twenties when I worked at Yarrows shipyard on the Clyde, where I was a turner fitter. In those days I lived on Spam. The bus to work left at 7.10am and cost £2.50. I had 10p to my name. My workplace was a packing plant for nuts and dried fruit and I spent the day shifting 25kg bags of raisins and peanuts. It was hard work that used muscles I didnt know I had. The workforce was all women. There was a granny, the wee girl who was just about to go on honeymoon and a girl whose husband had just left her. I found something was different about the way I was talking to them. Because my focus was getting to know people, I was actually paying attention for a change. We dont do that in life. You ask people how they are and you dont really care. Still, I didnt get the feeling these people needed my help. They had the wee problems that people everywhere have, but they were getting along fine. I started to get a bit disillusioned about why I was there. Did these people really need my money? Was this going to be just another reality TV show rather than a programme that said something about the nature of charity? That night in my flat I had plenty of time to think about it. There was no telly, so I sat there, read The Sun and had an early night. With my £40 wage packet after the first day I allowed myself one luxury: a can of Stella Artois. In my normal life in Glasgow, if Id had a good day, Id go home and have a bottle of champagne. That can of lager, though, was better than any champagne: it hit the spot. My second day was at a scrap merchants and the workers were blokes. There was the young boy whom I helped brush the yard and two Lithuanian brothers who could pick up fridges like they weighed nothing. I had to help them separate the junk into piles of plastic, metal and so on. Then there was Morgan, who was about to become a friend. He was operating a machine that crushed metal into a small cube. He asked me about my life and I told him I was down from Glasgow and didnt know how things would pan out. He asked about my family and I told him my wife and kids were in Glasgow and I wasnt sure if she was going to join me. He nodded and told me he wouldnt ask any more. Then I learnt something about his life. His name was Morgan Lennox and he was 43 years old. Hed been married, but his wife had left him 10 years ago and moved with their three children to Thetford. He had given up everything to move close to them. I realised he had done in real life what I was pretending to do. He took me under his wing and his kindness was boundless. He asked if I had a radio at my flat. When I said no he said he had a spare hed let me have and he promised me some books. This was an intelligent guy who was well read, and he was worried about me. He said he knew how hard it was to come home at night and sit alone. This was touching but he was just another guy to me. I couldnt really see how I could make a difference in his life. Despite his kindness I had an unkind view of him. Morgan seemed like a classic loser he had lost his wife and kids and had followed them around the country, did a dead-end job and worked part-time in a charity bookshop. You would walk past him in the street and not notice him. This was a proud man, but he went through life expecting nothing would ever happen to him. That was his lot and he had to deal with it. Then I went to his home. It was a tiny council flat with a loft, and a different side to him opened up to me. He had thousands of books. They were everywhere under the beds and in the kitchen cupboards.