A man from Crowle has raised over £300 to support homeless veterans after taking part in a month-long sleep out.
Paul Priestley has been sleeping under the stars throughout March as part in the Royal British Legion Industries’ Great Tommy Sleep Out 2023. The 36-year-old joined hundreds of others across the country in raising awareness of the situation facing homeless veterans in the UK and the work the RBLI does to support them. 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.
Speaking about how the experience has been, Paul said: “It has gone really really well, it has been amazing. The support from other people taking part as well as Veterans has been amazing and has really helped to keep me going. “It’s helped my mental health too because it has given me such a good feeling knowing I am doing something to help other people.” After sleeping out a total of 31 nights throughout March, the kindhearted fundraiser is now taking the challenge to the next level by sleeping out a further 22 nights in April. Explaining why he decided to extend the challenge, Paul said: “During the month I became friends with a Veteran called Peter Smith who has also been taking part in the challenge. He decided to sleep out an extra seven nights, so I said I would do it too to support him. “I also said that for every £10 I went over my original fundraising goal I would sleep out an extra night, so I’m now sleeping out for another 22 nights in April!” After “catching the fundraising bug”, Paul has also committed to walking 100 miles throughout April to raise even more money.
He said: “The RBLI does monthly fundraising challenges and I’m planning to do one every month this year. The challenge for April is to walk 100 miles, but I’m hoping to reach 200 miles and I’m doing it in full army kit too to get a taste of what it is like for soldiers. “I work as a tree surgeon so I like the outdoors, so I want to push myself as much as possible.” Thanks to his dedication and enthusiasm, Paul has been appointed as a community fundraiser for the RBLI, saying this is just the start of his fundraising journey. Concluding, Paul has thanked a number of people who have supported him throughout the fundraiser and helped to make the challenge possible. He said: “A big thank you to Hazel Wheatley and Jessica Revis-Harrison for their support at Hirst Priory and also to William Meehan from W.A.P Army Combat Camo for his knowledge and assistance in sorting kit and kind donations of ration packs. “Thanks also to John Cram for his technical support and bringing supplies, Victoria Priestly for her support and Ewan Dunsure from Bells And Two Tones for their large donation. “Finally a big thank you to everyone who has supported me and donated to the appeal.” People can donate to Paul’s fundraiser by contacting him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
People can also donate directly to the RBLI by visiting: https://rbli.co.uk/
Crowle man, Paul Priestly has slept under the stars for over a month to raise money for Royal British Legion Industries. (06-04-119 SU)