Photographs Courtesy of Alexandra Coyle

With 250 people signed up to take part in the Robes sponsored Sleepout of 2017, last Friday night was always going to be extra special.

Marking the end of our 10th anniversary celebratory year we were joined by an amazing line up of entertainment, including the fabulous Sandi Toksvig and Bill Bailey. There was also music provided by Dominick Felix and the Oompah Brass Band, a great mix for our diverse audience.

The night began with a lovely wintry warm non alcoholic punch which was kindly provided by the lovely team at Bompas and Parr. As sleepers began to arrive and the Cathedral courtyard filled up with cardboard and sleeping bags there was a definite buzz in the air ahead of the nights festivities.

We were treated to a fabulous auction with some incredible prizes starting bidding wars, leaving everyone in high spirits.

Sandi Toksvig then treated us to a very interesting and entertaining Q&A session with the Dean of Southwark Cathedral, Andrew Nunn. It was great to listen to the anecdotes that Sandi had to share. Bill Bailey followed on after playing for us both the piano and guitar and even treating one guest to Bill’s very own special rendition of Happy Birthday!

By the time it came to bed down outside though, everyone was once again focused on the real reason behind the Robes fundraiser. As the temperature dropped and we all layered up, it was a stark reminder that there were other people out in London that night, thousands of them, who did not have the luxuries we did. As we all climbed into our 4 season sleeping bags, with our hats, gloves, blankets and the support of each other it became all too real that those who find themselves homeless in London have to do this every night, often without warm food and warm clothes.

So far we have raised an incredible £106,625, not too far off our target of £130,000. As homelessness rates increase, now more than ever are the services of Robes Project needed to help our guests find their way out of homelessness. If you wish, donations are still being accepted until January at https://www.justgiving.com/robes