MORE than 100 resilient souls spent a night beneath the stars, helping bring the grand total of the Winter Warmth Fund to more than £70,000.

Around 170 people, from the ages of seven to 70, faced the elements to raise awareness of the vulnerable elderly suffering fuel poverty.

The Big Sleep, organised by Cumbria Community Foundation, was held in a field beside Low Wood Hotel in Windermere on Saturday (Feb 15).

Martyn Nicholson, managing director at Russell Armer in Kendal, said: “The reality was better than anticipated, it was very fun, watching a movie and going to bed at midnight.

“It rained a few times during the night but there were periods when the moon was out.

“We were up at 6.30am for bacon butties put on by the Community Foundation, which was a nice start to the day.”

The 57-year-old from Kendal raised an impressive £1,300 for the Winter Warmth Fund by braving the cold in a bivi bag.

Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation Andy Beeforth, who also camped out, said Mr Nicholson’s sponsorship alone is the equivalent of ten grants that can help the elderly.

Mr Beeforth said: “We had a beautiful moon, it was quite still and I really enjoyed it.

“People had to huddle together and support each other in a joint endeavour.”

He also said there were teams of locals as well as people from as far afield as Shrewsbury.

The Big Sleep is just one of the events that has contributed to the Winter Warmth Fund, which has a target of £100,000.

The total now stands at £72,259 and Mr Beeforth hopes the last of the sponsorship money to come in from the mass sleep-out challenge will amount to the remaining £28,000.