On Saturday night, Jonny, Jeremy and Michelle took part in the YMCA Sleep Out here in Guildford, a charity event in which participants sleep out in the freezing cold to raise money for work combatting youth homelessness - and damn proud of them we are too!
Sleeping out in this cold weather is not a choice anyone would make. But Guildford YMCA is looking for brave souls to do just that on 31 January, the eve of Homelessness Sunday. Apart from giving a tiny taste of what it’s like to be homeless, the aim is also to raise vital funds for projects that make a difference to disadvantaged young people.
The three hardy souls spent the evening and all night huddled together outside Guildford Cathedral in cardboard boxes and sleeping bags… as temperatures dived below freezing.
Heeeeer’es Jonny to tell us all about it…
Curiously, the venue for the sleepout was Guildford Cathedral – not only the spookiest venue that could have been chosen but also the most exposed, windy and highest point in Guildford! It was also, we later discovered, a prime location for convoys of chavved up Fiestas to zoom around at 6 in the morning.
But, already cold and slightly apprehensive, we discovered that the Mayor Of Guildford and Nigel The Deputy Mayor were coming to visit. They were wrapped up warm in their “sponsored by Mumm Champagne” windsheeters and made awkward quips about how warm they were going to be that night, but I felt honoured to meet a local dignitary or two!
We set up base camp in the least windy location we could find, and this is where the whole affair turned into an I’m A Celebrity / Lord Of The Flies crossover. Discussions abound about how to best erect a cardboard windbreak led to Pigsy’s glasses being broken, and the first round of eviction nominations (not really).
Jeremy, Michelle and myself stuffed ourselves into our sleeping bags (not easy given the number of layers we were wearing, I felt like the Michelin man in a chrysalis), chatted and played cards until we decided we should actually try to get some sleep at about half twelve. This worked out pretty well for me. It wasn’t hugely comfortable, as you might expect, but shockingly I did actually get some (albeit broken) sleep. 7am was the alarm call (by more chavved up Fiestas, there’s nothing like a wide-bore exhaust to rouse you from half-slumber) and we awoke to a nice layer of frost, red noses, and a bacon bap shoved into our hand.
Never has bacon tasted so good.
A few days later the guys have warmed up again, but it’s not that easy for those who are forced to spend their nights this way regularly. The YMCA team popped over earlier today to award them with some certificates and a fetching mug for their efforts.
HEY YOU, DONATE SOME MONEY, GO ON!
It’s not to late to donate to to this worthy local cause and retrospectively sponsor Jonny, Michelle or Jeremy. Go on, they slept out in the icy cold! All you need to do is pick one of these links!