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Fundraisers brave the cold for charity sleep out

L-R: Christine Hunter-Hall, Sophia Atcha, Alison Dacre, Sarah Bromiley, John Rael, Steve Hunter-Hall, Eric Field. Age UK West Cumbria

[M]ore than one hundred eager fundraisers gave up their warm homes for a cold, wet and windy night under the stars to help older people stay warm in winter.

The Big Sleep is an annual event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise money for their Winter Warmth Appeal, which supports older people in Cumbria who struggle to pay their heating and fuel bills in the colder months.

With temperatures around two degrees, campers kept thoughts from the cold and enjoyed live music from Smith Corona and Little Sleepers were kept entertained by storyteller Ian Douglas and a family movie. Volunteers from Calderwood House, a homeless hostel in Egremont, kept campers warm with their speciality coffee, and English Lakes Hotels provided the evening meal and breakfast rolls in the morning.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “We’ve had another fantastic year at the Big Sleep and a huge thank you to everyone who took part or who supported them. The event usually raises around £15,000 and this money makes a huge difference enabling us to continue our work, helping older people within our community.

“Extra funding is always great but awareness is even better and we want people to understand what fuel poverty is and how it affects people. The money raised will be used to provide grants to some of the poorest, most vulnerable older people in the county. Thank you to everyone who took part or supported the participants.”

The appeal has already distributed £125,000 this winter and helped over 700 older people heat their homes to date.

Kerry and Matthew Beswick, Team Napthens

A team of seven from Age UK West Cumbria braved the cold to take part. Sarah Bromiley, Project Lead, said: “It was great to support the Winter Warmth Appeal again this year. It’s fantastic everyone camps so close together. The sun even came out, although the lake was a bit choppy!”

Kerry Beswick and her son Matthew, aged 8, were part of a team from Napthens Solicitors, who have offices all over Cumbria. Kerry said: “It’s great to do something nice for the local community and have fun while you’re raising money.”

1st Wetheral Brownies at Talkin Tarn

The 1st Wetheral Brownies were with the Big Sleep in spirit on Saturday night as they camped out at Talkin Tarn. Tawny Owl said: “Our intrepid participants have been busy collecting more than £600 in sponsor money for the Winter Warmth Appeal. We had a great time with a lantern lit walk and we admired the moon reflected in Talkin Tarn. We played in the playground and had a stalking game in the woods. After supper we all tucked up to watch a film.”

You can still donate towards the Winter Warmth Appeal. Visit http://www.cumbriafoundation.org/winter-warmth-fund/give-to-the-winter-warmth-fund or phone 01900 825760.

Or you can send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Send it to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN

If you or someone you know is in need of support from the Winter Warmth Appeal, please contact your local Age UK.

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