Horsham Football Club’s chairman slept outside the home dugout at the club’s Gorings Mead ground as part of a charity challenge.
Kevin Borrett built a makeshift bed using cardboard and a sleeping bag to raise funds and highlight the issue of homelessness on Friday (March 18).
Warmed up by a Horsham FC hat, scarf and jumper, he was one of 20 fundraisers taking part in Sleep Easy to raise money for the YMCA DownsLink Group.
He said: “I was quite comfortable in my sleeping bag and with cardboard underneath me but the temperature got down to about two degrees and you could feel that on your face.
“I found it a rewarding experience.
“It is easy to do it on a pleasant summer’s evening, but when it got down close to zero, you can understand why people who sleep out focus on getting through the night and waiting for daylight.”
As well as enduring an hour of ‘drizzle’, Mr Borrett identified noise from nearby St Mary’s Church and bright street lights as the two hardest parts of the challenge.
The 53-year-old, who lives in Horsham, explained that he was inspired to raise awareness after visiting Nicaragua last year.
He said: “The plight of those who are homeless is a cause that is particularly close to my own heart, and my motivation in participating reflected that.
“Last year one of my daughters spent 11 months travelling around the world working with various charities and living in communities in Asia, Africa and South America.
“My wife and I visited her in Nicaragua in August where we experienced living conditions that have to be seen to be believed.”
After managing six hours of sleep, Mr Borrett laid down the gauntlet to others to take on the charity challenge.
He said: “The challenge I would throw out is others who are concerned about homelessness in Horsham should consider taking part in next year’s challenge, and I would encourage them to do so.
“I’m tremendously grateful for the sponsorship I have had. The YMCA did a great job of explaining how the money we would raise would go to help vulnerable individuals.”
He added that the night was also in memory of Mick Browning, the much-loved former chairman of Horsham YMCA who died in November after a long battle with leukaemia.
Mr Browning was instrumental in the ground share talks between the two football clubs which led to Horsham FC returning to the town following a year of playing in Worthing.
And Mr Borrett joked that for one night he shared the homeless plight of the football club, who have been without a permanent home since 2008.
He said: “The spectre of the club being potentially homeless again was an added incentive.”
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