Sixty Teesside business leaders are set to sleep rough for the night as part of a unique charity event at one of the region’s best-loved landmarks.
Launched in 2013 by Teesside businessman and charity leader Andy Preston, CEO Sleepout UK is a national fundraising phenomenon that has already raised close to £1 million to fight homelessness and poverty around the country.
Since the first CEO Sleepout outside Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium in 2013, business leaders have slept rough at a range of landmark venues, including Wembley Stadium, The Oval, Cardiff Castle, Newcastle’s St James Park, Birmingham’s Villa Park and Everton FC’s Goodison Park in Liverpool.
And 15% of everything raised around the country comes back to support projects fighting poverty and homelessness on Teesside.
Now Teesside is set to host its third CEO Sleepout, with Stockton Council allowing the big-hearted fundraisers to sleep rough on the Victorian Street at Preston Park Museum in Eaglescliffe, with well over £20,000 raised already.
Those taking part in the Preston Park event include Duncan Bannatyne’s ex-wife, fitness guru Joanne McCue, Nigel Willis, MD of Redcar firm First Choice Labels, Stockton’s Cornerstone Business Solutions MD Chris Petty and Sue Theobald of Barclays Middlesbrough.
Others taking part include Ian Stark, CEO of Middlesbrough’s Chemoxy International, Simon Wake and Nik Tunley of Stockton’s The Endeavour Partnership, Middlesbrough-based Unasys director Mick Flynn, and three partners of Stockton-based solicitors, Tilly Bailey and Irvine, Alison Leith, Kenton Bazeley and Helen Dexter.
All four directors of Stokesley firm Applied Integration will be joining them, along with entrepreneur Alastair Waite, Craig Rye of Stockton logistics firm InBond and MI Supplies boss Alex Ingham.
The event is being organised by DNA PR & Publicity director Dave Allan and Mantis Media owner Martin Walker, who are looking for more local business leaders to give up the comfort of their bed for a night sleeping rough under the stars to aid Teessiders in need of a helping hand?
Participants are allowed to bring along a sleeping bag, while warm clothes are recommended. There will also be access to hot drinks and toilets throughout the night.
Proceeds from the event will go towards funding a high-quality not-for-profit restaurant in Middlesbrough that will provide catering jobs for recovering addicts and alcoholics, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed.
Dave, who has previously slept rough three times as part of Big Tees Sleepout, said: “We can’t promise those taking part a comfortable night but we do promise them a night they are unlikely to forget in a hurry, that will give everyone a tiny insight into what it must be like to sleep rough.
“Hopefully, we’ll raise a significant sum of money and help raise awareness of a serious issue for Teesside and the rest of the country.
“This is an opportunity for local businesspeople to spend a night alongside their peers doing something extraordinary to help make Teesside a fairer place. With the generous support of Stockton Council, we’ve secured the unique setting of Preston Park Museum, so it promises to be an event that will stay long in the memory.”