Local man sleeps rough to help homeless veterans

March 23, 2023

A man from Crowle is taking part in a month-long sleep out to raise awareness and funds for homeless veterans. 

Paul Priestley is taking part in the Royal British Legion Industries’ Great Tommy Sleep Out 2023 to raise awareness of the situation facing homeless veterans in the UK and the work the RBLI does to support them.  The 36-year-old is sleeping under the stars every night throughout March, no matter the weather, as part of the annual fundraising campaign.

Speaking about why he decided to take part in the challenge, Paul said: “My Dad was in the Guards and my best friend was also in the Paras, so it’s partly in my Dads memory, but also to honour all the Veterans who have fought for our country. “I’ve set a goal of raising £150, but it’s also about raising awareness of the plight of homeless veterans in the UK and getting people talking about the problem.” Throughout the month Paul has been sleeping in two locations, under a hedge as well as under a bridge at Hirst Priory in Belton, whilst also cooking on a camp fire and getting a taste of what it is like to sleep rough. Paul says thinking about people who are homeless is what has kept him going through the toughest nights.

He said: “Some days have been more challenging than others. One night when I was sleeping under the hedge it was raining so I was drenched, but I know that is something homeless people have to experience often. “Thinking about those people who are actually homeless is what has kept me going. It has also really helped to see positive comments and encouragement on social media, especially from veterans who are struggling.” The kindhearted fundraiser has paid thanks to those who have helped make the challenge possible. He said: “A big thank you to Hazel Wheatley from Hirst Priory for letting me use the ground and for her support and also to W.A.P Army Combat Camo for their knowledge and assistance in sorting kit and their kind donations of ration packs for me. “Thanks also to John Cram for the technical support and bringing supplies, to my mum for doing my washing.”    People can donate to Paul’s fundraiser by visiting Paul’s Facebook fundraising page - My Great Tommy Sleep Out for Royal British Legion Industries - by Paul Priestly, or to donate by Paypal or cash email, pl_priestley@yahoo.co.uk People can also donate directly to the RBLI by visiting: https://rbli.co.uk/

Paul Priestley is taking on The Great Tommy Sleep Out to raise money for homeless veterans. (16-03-130 SU)

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