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Harleston man sleeps outside to support The Great Tommy Sleep Out





A Harleston man gave up his home comforts and slept rough in order to support Armed Forces veterans.

Si Hadley spent two nights sleeping outside at the weekend, having signed up for The Great Tommy Sleep Out, a charity fundraiser by Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), which challenges participants to brave the cold to support former servicemen and women sleeping on the streets.

“I was just outside my house, so I had that safety net in case I got too cold, but those living in the street are in a different situation,” said 42-year-old Mr Hadley.

Si Hadley has been taking part in The Great Tommy Sleep Out.
Si Hadley has been taking part in The Great Tommy Sleep Out.

“I slept on cardboard boxes and a sleeping bag and, while it wasn’t comfortable, I only did two nights, so it was fairly easy compared to what others are going through.”

Mr Hadley was inspired to take part by the experiences of friends who have served in the Armed Forces.

“I have lots of serving friends, or ex-service friends, and I wanted to do something to help them, because it’s so important to support people who have given so much to their country,” he said.

“Many people who have served our country find themselves sleeping on the street. Some friends of mine have had mental health struggles and I think the number of people going through that is probably rising.

“The servicemen who we see in TV shows are open about their mental health issues. It’s great that they share those stories as it sets an example that it’s alright to be open about it.

“Lots of ex-servicemen have found themselves homeless, which is the inspiration behind the sleep out fundraiser, and it’s great to see people taking part across the country.”

The Great Tommy Sleep Out runs throughout March is a fundraising challenge designed to support the estimated 6,000 veterans that are homeless in the UK.

The RBLI advises that anyone who joins in the fundraiser should sleep out at least one night, and do so somewhere safe and close to home.

“I’m hoping I can hit £500 and will be looking to follow this up with more fundraisers in the coming months,” added Mr Hadley, who has raised £335 so far.

The RBLI provides employment opportunities, housing and care and structured support for veterans and their families.

To find out more, go online to www.rbli.co.uk.



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