Burton Latimer's Kevin swaps comfort for the cold to help our 'forgotten heroes'

He's raising money to help homeless veterans

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:30 am
Kevin Sproates is sleeping on a bench to help homeless veterans. Picture by Andrew Carpenter.

A Burton Latimer man is raising money to help our 'forgotten heroes' - by sleeping under the stars on a bench he built at home.

Kevin Sproates, 61, has already spent five nights on the wooden bench in his back garden as part of The Great Tommy Sleep Out, raising money for Royal British Legion Industries to help homeless veterans.

And, tucked under some underlay he found in a skip, a sheet of tarpaulin and a sleeping bag, he'll spend one more night in the cold tonight (Thursday) as his challenge comes to an end.

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Kevin Sproates is sleeping on a bench to help homeless veterans. Picture by Andrew Carpenter.

The self-employed plumber and heating engineer, who has supported the Royal British Legion for a number of years, said: "I got some emails and got quite caught up in the Great Tommy Sleep Out, to raise money for ex-servicemen who are sleeping rough and struggling.

"The challenge is to do it for one night in March, but I didn't think one night was enough of a challenge so decided to do it for six.

"It's been very uncomfortable but that's part of the challenge, to take you out of your comfort zone.

"And it's nothing compared to what some people are going through."

Kevin Sproates is sleeping on a bench to help homeless veterans. Picture by Andrew Carpenter.

Kevin knocked up the bench at home in about five hours and has been sleeping on it since Saturday night, with the company of the moon and the occasional passing cloud.

He decided to take on the challenge having recently bought a Tommy figure for his wife Bev, in memory of her late father John Mudge who was a paratrooper.

Many soldiers struggle physically, financially or mentally when they return home, with an estimated 6,000 veterans currently homeless in the UK.

The Great Tommy Sleep Out aims to help get them off the streets and into safe, warm housing, as well as supporting those with disabilities.

Kevin, a Welshman who moved to Burton Latimer in 1985, said: "There's a lot going on with Covid and the Government is paying out a lot of money to help out businesses.

"But these people are our forgotten heroes.

"I want to do my bit to help them, raise some money for them and raise some awareness."

So far Kevin has raised £349. To donate, visit his fundraising page here.