Deepdale saw more than 150 people bed down in some very typical Preston weather to raise tens of thousands of pounds for rough sleepers in the city.Advertisement
The Big PNE Sleep Out returned for the first time since 2019 with a fundraising effort for The Foxton Centre’s Day Centre.
Those sleeping out on the side of the pitch faced increasingly strong winds and heavy rain throughout Friday night into Saturday morning for the sleep out.
Read more: Ryan Lowe and PNE players visit The Foxton’s Day Centre
First in on the night were Mum and son duo Lisa and Jordan from Fulwood.
Lisa said: “We took part in 2019 and we also know how difficult the weather can be in the city so we wanted to get down early to make sure we picked out the most sheltered spot.
“I think it’s fantastic the effort that everyone puts in to take part and organise the Sleep Out too and it’s for such a good cause.”
The city weather lulled everyone into a false sense of security as the evening started dry as those taking part heard from The Foxton’s chief executive Jeff Marsh about the impact their efforts would make on the charity’s work to help rough sleepers.
Mr Marsh told those taking part about how their pounds raised in donations would go to frontline services at the Day Centre which offers a place after people have found themselves on the streets to have safe and warm space to be fed and receive support.
Watch below or on Facebook our live video report from the Sleep Out at Deepdale
The Sleep Out participants then bedded down on the side of the pitch in the shadow of the Sir Tom Finney stands and the Kop.
But the weather quickly turned with heavy rain setting in and leaving the cardboard underneath rapidly soaking up the moisture – seeing people retreat up into the stands or making shelters as they battled to keep dry and attempt to get some sleep.
See our thread on X for how the night unfolded
Friends Gemma, Helen and Diane were just coming to at around 5.30am as they began to awake from their cardboard shelters and unzip their sleeping bags.
Gemma said: “It was really cold and wet but I am so glad we have done something to help people who are less fortunate.
“Although the snoring was really loud in places we can’t really complain as we know we have a safe and comfortable bed to go back to now.”
The Sleep Out finished around 6.30am with those taking part receiving a cup of tea or coffee and bacon barm as rough sleepers would find at the Day Centre upon arrival.
Mayor of Preston councillor Yakub Patel came to greet those finishing the Sleep Out and thank them for taking part.
Organised by the Preston North End Community and Education Trust, The Foxton Centre, Veolia and Blog Preston the Sleep Out has a target of £50,000 and is nearing the £30,000 mark as of Saturday (18 November) morning in pledges with gift aid, offline donations and business match funding still to come.
Chief executive of the Foxton Centre, Jeff Marsh, said: “An enormous thank you to everyone involved and taking part in the Sleep Out and also to everyone who has donated so far.
“While it was just one night for us then I think it brought home the reality of what it can be like on the streets and a lot of people I spoke to found it a deeply uncomfortable experience – even though we were in a relatively sheltered environment.
“The funds raised are crucial for ensuring our Day Centre can provide the services to the homeless in the city and we continue to see the demand for this sadly increasing.”
Chief executive of the Preston North End Community and Education Trust, Tom Drake, said: “Thank you and well done to every single person who took on the challenge of sleeping out.
“Preston, not surprisingly, has united again behind the Big PNE Sleep Out and it was our pleasure to welcome everyone to Deepdale for the event – and the city weather did its level best to stop us but it was impressive to see everyone’s resolution to stay the course and complete the Sleep Out.
“A huge thank you to everyone involved in helping to make the event a success.”
Blog Preston took part in the Big PNE Sleep Out with Kate Rosindale, the site’s editor, amongst those taking part.
Kate said: “I’m a regular on the Town End so it was odd to be back in such a quiet stadium but it was anything but quiet at 1am when trying to sleep with the wind howling.
“It’s been incredible to see the generosity of everyone in their donations, not just from Blog Preston readers but from the city as a whole.
“Everyone taking part should be so proud of what they’ve done and I hope they get warmed up quickly.”
Donations can continue to be made on the Justgiving page for the Big PNE Sleep Out and you can donate to Blog Preston’s specific page for Ed and Kate’s effort here.
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