Sleep-out for charity raises decent total

From left, Caroline Pryer, Rhona Dunn and Alison Byard. Picture by Doug Harrison.
From left, Caroline Pryer, Rhona Dunn and Alison Byard. Picture by Doug Harrison.

Three women have once again stayed in Morpeth Market Place for 24 hours in aid of a good cause.

Former Mayor of Morpeth Alison Byard, former Morpeth Rotary Club President Rhona Dunn and Caroline Pryer, a Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland, have thanked residents and businesses for their donations and support.

After deciding to do another sleep-out, the one they did last year was for Crisis, they agreed to raise funds and awareness this time for homeless charity Changing Lives.

They were in the Market Place from 11am on Saturday to 11am on Sunday. More than £1,000 has been raised – this includes text donations.

Mrs Dunn’s thoughts on her experience included the following: “Not expecting very much to happen during the 24 hours, we were surprised when cabaret singer Jason King arrived to entertain Morpeth with his wonderful singing.

“He even sang a song for us (Strangers in the Night) and him being there meant more people came along to the Market Place and made a donation to Changing Lives once they saw what we were doing.

“It was quiet for a while until the revellers started to come out and we had a visit from Morpeth Mayor Nic Best.

“During the day and early evening, we had the company of two homeless people. One of them was a ‘Gentleman of the Road’, who has been travelling the country for 11 years.

“He was charming to talk to and we managed to give him some food to help him on his way.

“As it got dark it was time for pizzas and Rob of Boulevards very kindly donated our supper.

“During the night, people continued coming up and down the street, donating, chatting and wondering why we were doing this and past Mayor Andrew Tebbutt joined us to help with collecting.

“After midnight, we still had noise from a shop alarm and traffic and once we had a little bit of sleep, it was about 5.30am and deliveries were starting.

“We received a coffee from Carr’s paper shop, food from friends and a few more donations and when 11am arrived, we were able to go home feeling that we had done our best for Changing Lives.

“We could not have done it without the marvellous generosity of the people of Morpeth and visitors to the town.”

Changing Lives is highly active in Northumberland; its services include accommodation for vulnerable adults, who would otherwise face homelessness, and successful drug and alcohol recovery services.

The money raised will go towards helping women fleeing domestic abuse.

Executive director Jo Curry, who went along on Saturday evening to meet and have a chat with the three women, said: “Staying outdoors for 24 hours in order to raise money and awareness of what we do was a tremendous effort.

“I found them to be inspirational women. They clearly have a zest for doing what they can to make people’s lives better.”