Hundreds take part in The Big Sleep 2015

10th February 2015

On Saturday night more than 200 eager fundraisers braced the cold and spent a night under the stars in conditions which plummeted to -6 degrees during the night in aid of Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.

The Big Sleep is an annual event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise money for their Winter Warmth Fund. The fund grants money to older people within Cumbria who need support paying for their heating and fuel bills in the winter months.

Jim and Paula Corrigan
Jim and Paula Corrigan

Andrew Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We couldn’t be happier with the number of people that turned out to support the Big Sleep. Everyone enjoyed the evening and embraced the cold weather but importantly we’ll be able to help lots of older, cold people as a result of the fundraising. Thank you to everyone who took part or supported the participants.”

“We had a heating honesty box, to have the heater on in the marquee to keep people warm people would donate money. Some people were very generous paying for hours of heating time.”

71-year-old Jim Corrigan from Wigton, entered the Big Sleep with his daughter Paula and his grandchildren Jodie and Jessica but unlike his family members, Jim had never camped out before.

“I’ve never camped in my life,” He said, “But I thought why not give it a go and do it for a good cause, to help older people and I am old.”

Evie Smith, Jessica Butterfield, Andy Beeforth
Evie Smith, Jessica Butterfield, Andy Beeforth

Evie Smith, daughter of Ian Smith, Head Teacher at St Benedict’s school, celebrated her 13th birthday at The Big Sleep and her generous act has helped her raise more than £500 via her Just Giving page. She said: “I saw this event was for charity and I thought if I went somewhere else for my birthday I’d regret it because I wanted to do something good.”

1st Workington Scouts
1st Workington Scouts

The 1st Workington St Johns Scouts and Beavers pitched their tent and made the most of the dry night playing games and cosing up in the Big Sleep Bed. They were kept warm in the evening with a cowboy stew courtesy of English Lakes Hotels, hot chocolates from Carvetii Coffee and bacon and egg buns in the morning.

Workers from Balfour Beatty, Jacobs and Amec Foster Wheeler, the three companies on the Box Encapsulation Project at Sellafield joined the Foundation on Saturday.

 Rachel Beech, the team organiser and Head of Supply Chain at Balfour Beatty said: “With energy prices still high, elderly people face a real problem in keeping warm during the harsh winter months. We’ll do anything for a good cause.”

Dave McGrath and Michelle McGrath
Dave McGrath and Michelle McGrath

Also braving the cold at the event was Helen Fisher Head of Socio-economics at Sellafield Ltd and her colleagues Dave McGrath and Alan Dunne.

The Bay Radio broadcast live from the Big Sleep site, with DJ Danny Matthews interviewing Big Sleepers throughout the night. The Bay team even slept in their broadcast gazebo and made it back to their studio in time to be on air the next morning.

Cumbria Community Foundation fund holders, Westmorland Limited, also took part in the mass charity camp out raising money for the Winter Warmth Appeal.

 You can still donate towards the Winter Warmth Appeal; phone Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760 or visit our JustGiving page:

You can also simply send a text message to 70070 including our code WINT37. You can donate £2, £5 or £10. e.g. WINT37 £5 to 70070.

 Or you can send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Send it to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.