The Big PNE Sleep Out

When your son volunteers you for something, then offers you a way out, do you dig your heels in? Patrick and I joined some 300 others for the Big Sleep in support of the Foxton Centre Project, at North End football ground.

With the concrete area under the stand being the venue, we arrived early to seek the maximum authenticity and soon found an open-shuttered entrance to the stadium meaning we were the ones to experience a form of sleeping out! It took till around 11.30pm before things settled down enough to try to get some form of sleep and although it was a relatively mild evening, there was quite a breeze down the tunnel.

If there was one thing I learned from the night, it was to appreciate how lucky I am to have a warm, comfortable bed every night and not a battle between a hard concrete floor and the quilts of a sleeping bag.

At 7.00am we had a visit from the Mayor (fresh from his Silent Night bed, no doubt) followed by a photo-shoot to collect our certificate of proof. The whole project is on track to raise the £50k required, with my sponsors money between £400 and £500. I canít thank people enough for the prayers, encouragement and sponsorship that I have received, including some anonymous donations, and one from someone I have not seen or heard from for over 35 years!

Homelessness is not new, but hopefully the awareness and support systems are having an effect.

Thanks again to you all.

Dave Topping