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Posted on Mar 24 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A former British Army soldier braved cold temperatures, icy wind and a battering of rain when he voluntarily slept rough for the night as part of a charitable campaign, raising nearly £600 in the process.

Paul Ford, who is currently the Acting Security Team Leader at St Andrew’s, ditched his warm bed and an evening of Netflix on Friday, March 11, choosing instead to sleep outside at the Northampton St Andrew’s site.

Paul took part in the sleep out on behalf of the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), as part of the Great Tommy Sleep Out campaign and he has so far raised £600, smashing his original £250 target.

He said: “I had the honour to serve alongside some fantastic men and women from all ranks throughout my military career. They become your family and you would do anything for them.

“But, sadly when people leave or retire, things don’t always go to plan and many ex-service personnel end up living on the streets. This can be for multiple reasons, but very often, their mental health and PTSD issues might be linked to their circumstances.

“I’ll be honest, it was a pretty uncomfortable night for me, but I’m lucky. I knew I had a warm bed waiting for me the next night. There are literally thousands of homeless veterans who don’t have that luxury, so I’m hoping the money I’ve raised will go towards giving them a helping hand.

“I would like to thank everyone who has donated to this fantastic charity and who have helped me raise £587 so far. I am completely overwhelmed by your generosity and it’s an amazing figure to reach and I know it will go a long way to helping military veterans on the streets.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the St Andrew’s team - Matthew Farrar for supplying hot coffee throughout the night, Jess Lievesley for allowing me to make use of the grounds to carry out the Great Tommy Sleep Out, and to Gareth Roberts in making a flag pole so that I was able to fly the Tommy flag. To you all it is very much appreciated.”

Money raised by the Great Tommy Sleep Out is used to help support the UK’s most vulnerable veterans. The RBLI uses the funds to provide safe homes and support for former soldiers and personnel, helping to get them back on their feet.

Every penny goes towards the campaign and even a small donation of £2 is enough to provide personal protective equipment for an individual.

To sponsor Paul, click here.