Reflections on a night under the stars

CEO Sleepout – Reflections from Dr John Hall, the Dean of Westminster

Dean - for web“Who could doubt the beauty of lying out in the open air under the stars on a balmy moonlit night in the summer? Who could doubt how barmy it would be to sleep out under the rainclouds on a damp October night in north-west London? Even the majestic surroundings of the Wembley Stadium might not provide adequate compensation. But that is exactly what a hundred or so of us – CEOs or something like – did on the night of 13th October in aid of the Cardinal Hume Centre and Depaul UK.

“In truth there were practical, as well as moral and spiritual, compensations for an uncomfortable, damp and largely sleepless night. To enjoy for an evening the company over a bowl of soup, a bread roll and a glass of wine of a group of people you scarcely knew but who were all intent on a similar purpose was gently inspiring. To learn of the vision of the founder of CEOSleepoutUK was encouraging. To be taken on an excellent tour of the Stadium and allowed into the press conference room and changing rooms – to be able if you wished to use the showers – was fun.”

In addition to high level executives, two schools also took on the Big Sleepout challenge this autumn. Gumley House (pictured) and St Charles 6th Form raised money through a night under the elements. The students from St Charles passed on their thoughts on the experience.

The experience of feeling how to be homeless for one night was very informative and memorable. It was hard to sleep because of the harsh weather condition despite the fact we prepared so much for it. It made me realise that I am very fortunate to have a comfortable place to sleep in and it made me feel sad for the people who are sleeping on the road every night. Alone. (Cheenie Fabro)Gumley House

It was a huge eye-opening experience, even though we were hugely prepared, it was still a tough experience. At 4 o’clock the temperature dropped drastically. I slept at 3 am and woke up at 4.30 and was not able to get back to sleep. (Chelsea Macaraeg)

From the experience I gained awareness of the little things I should appreciate, like a roof over my head, bed etc.. (Nazneen Hafiz)

It was a very good experience as it made me realise how difficult day to day life is for a homeless person as I had a chance to experience it. (Rebecca David)