Harpenden man’s nine-day Christmas charity sleepout

SPENDING the festive period on the streets begging for food and water is how a fundraiser from Harpenden hopes to help raise awareness of homelessness.

James Beavis, of Kinsbourne Green, starts his nine-day charity sleepout on Saturday which will see him swap his warm bed for the cold pavements of Lewisham in London.

And in aid of raising money for homeless charity Crisis, this is where the 22-year-old will spend Christmas Day treating himself to a single mince pie and a can of beer.

Other than these two items James is only taking the bare essentials with him, including a sleeping bag and spare jumper, as he wants to experience exactly what it is like to be homeless.

The former St Albans Girls’ School sixth former said: “I want to experience homelessness and be able to write about it so I can explain to people how difficult it is. The biggest challenge will be not speaking to my mum, dad and gran on Christmas Day. That I might find hard.”

James has been volunteering at homeless charity Crisis for the past year and was inspired to take up the challenge after he found out they had lost 150 beds.

He hopes his sponsorship money will be used to replace the beds so the charity does not have to turn homeless people away this winter.

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To date he has raised more than �6,000, and has asked his friends and family to donate to the cause instead of buying him Christmas gifts this year.

He added: “My hope is that people will do something to prevent homelessness in their country, their community and their family.

“I also want to show that homeless people are not all addicts and beggars, nor are they people too lazy to work, but they have something to offer the world.”

To sponsor James visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesBeavis