Last year Margaret was a star Sleep Outer and our highest fundraiser at an incredible £1,212! Here she shares her thoughts and reflections of the night…
As I was preparing my clothes, sleeping bags and, of course, cardboard, I got a few last minute messages of good luck and extra nice comments from our sons. It made me feel so cocooned in love, not something that homeless people can experience every day.
Once at the churchyard, I hooked up with the others doing it for One25, which felt very reassuring. So now it seemed like the easy bit. All I actually had to do was go to sleep – logically, it was simple…
…but it was so uncomfortable on the hard ground that I had to keep rolling over. It was quite a palaver inside my two sleeping bags and with all my layers, though the struggle did make me warmer!
My bottle of water was too cold to drink. My hat kept falling off. And noisy lorries kept echoing through the underpass. I was amazed I got any sleep at all – about half an hour now and then.
Every time I woke up, I saw a steady, silent stream of people going to and from the toilets. I wondered what they were all feeling.
I decided to visit the toilets, just for a change really, to relieve the pressure of the hard ground on my hips. Then I walked silently around the perimeter of the sleepers and took photos of the surreal sight.
"For me, the ordeal was over - I could go home, but those facing homelessness couldn’t."-
In the morning, I woke up crying and felt very emotional for several hours. We were the lucky ones who could go back to normality, who didn’t have to go through another tough night.
The night was a small insight into what it might be like if you didn’t have a safe place to call home, and had to rely on the support of others.
Now, every single night I think of the ones who have to do this regularly, and feel thankful that my experience was just one night.
This year our inspirational team of Sleep Outers will be braving the cold on Friday 24 February – good luck to them all!