Plea to local people to join The Big Sleep to help those suffering in the cold

HUNDREDS of hardy fundraisers are needed to shiver in sub-zero temperatures – to help people suffering in the cold this winter.

About 300 elderly people in Cumbria die every year from illnesses brought on by the effects of wintry weather. Many of them suffer because they cannot afford to put on their heating.

Now Cumbria Com-munity Foundation has launched The Big Sleep and hopes at least 200 people will be brave enough to camp outdoors on a February night, when temperatures could be a bone-chilling -11C.

They want people to spend a night under the stars on land above Windermere’s Low Wood Bay Hotel, sampling what it’s like to endure those freezing conditions – at the same time raising money to help those in need.

A string of prominent Cumbrian business figures – including Martyn Nicholson, managing director of Cumbria-based Russell Armer Homes, and Simon Berry, boss of English Lakes Hotels - have already agreed to take part.

Martyn said: “I can only imagine what it’s like to be cold every day through the winter. This is a great opportunity to help those in need of warmth.”

Money raised will be ploughed into the foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal, a campaign which gives grants to people who would otherwise not be able to heat their homes.

Since its launch in 2010, it has raised more than £400,000 and helped some 1,000 people. This year’s target is £100,000 – double the amount collected last year, with more than £25,000 already in the pot.

CCF chief executive Andy Beeforth said: “The help this appeal gives is real and practical. It can be hard for people to imagine what others go through, but try turning your heating off for one day and feel what it’s like for people who cannot afford to put theirs on.

“People have told us the support has saved their life. It’s as simple as that.”

Entries for the Big Sleep cost £30 for adults aged over 18 and are free for children aged 16 and under. For more information or to enter, visit www.cumbria-foundation.org/bigsleep or email events@cumbria-foundation.org

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