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Sleepout soaking fails to deter brave fundraisers

Annual challenge to 'sleep rough' in Aldershot Town FC stadium expected to raise thousands again

Britain's Got Talent contestant from 2011 Big Mama Funk entertained those at the sleepout this year

On a mercifully warm and dry night, fundraisers taking part in an Aldershot homelessness charity's sleepout event still got a taste of the unpredictable nature of sleeping rough.

At midnight in Aldershot Town FC's Electrical Services Stadium, participants sleeping close to the pitch were suddenly given a soaking when the pitch sprinklers turned on automatically.

The hardy participants laughed off the mishap, though, and slept, dosed or tossed and turned through the night to raise money for Step by Step.

A large number of people took part in this year's annual Summer Sleepout event this year , including Aldershot Town FC chairman Shahid Azeem, Rushmoor Borough Council members, including mayor Cllr Diane Bedford, eight year-old Erin Mitchell, from Aldershot , and a group from St Paul's Church in Tongham.

There were speeches from clients and staff and even entertainment from Britain's Got Talent contestant from 2011 Big Mama Funk, who raised spirits in the group.

Step by Step, based in Crimea Road, provides supported accommodation to young people faced with homelessness and other life issues.

Last year's sleepout raised £12,000 , but this year's total is still being calculated.

Sleepers again used cardboard to create warm shelters, which they decorated in inventive ways - turning them into windmills, castles and other creations.

Mr Azeem's shelter was slightly more unusual as it took the form of a cardboard coffin, made for him by a friend.

"I wanted to make sure I didn't fall out my cardboard box," he said. "It was a great night to raise awareness of homeless youngsters.

"The fact was we were quite lucky the weather was good and we had a nice bunch of people there. That's not what most homeless people have.

"For us to raise awareness for a good cause is great. Aldershot Town FC works very closely with Step by Step as they are across the road from us. They are a fantastic organisation."

 

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