The Big Sleep
Blimey. It is cold. But that’s the winter for you.
In Cumbria, every winter, there are around 300 preventable deaths. That is 300 people who die because of health complications brought on by the cold weather.
Cumbria Community Foundation goes to extreme lengths to keep older people warm every winter. It has its Winter Warmth Appeal. People give money to the appeal and the charity gives it to older people to help them pay their fuel bills. Takes away that horrid choice between heating and eating.
Then, on a suitably cold night, it invites people to spend a night under the stars in a field to help raise more money. The Big Sleep – a mass sponsored sleep out – raised £23,000 in one night in 2014. That helped keep 100 older people warm all winter. One night of discomfort for 170 hardy souls paid the heating bills for more than 100 older people for the whole winter. That’s a lot of warm nights in return for one cold one.
On 7 February 2015, they’re hoping to smash that figure. You can join them (http://www.cumbriafoundation.org/bigsleep/) just behind The Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel. They’ll try to keep your mind off the cold (and the fact there’s a really nice warm hotel within running distance) with a film – Raiders of the Lost Ark – and there’ll be music and food (cowboy stew) and lovely Carvetii coffee (though you won’t want too much nice coffee if you want to sleep).
Will I do it? Well, see that nice four poster bed in the photo? I’ll be hoping for a spot in there. But not on the lake. Andy Beeforth and Gary McKeating might be daft enough to try it as a water bed, but I’ll struggle to get any shut eye on terra firma. So. Four poster bed, as many layers as is humanly possible to wear, a forecast of a cool clear night and a fine display by the aurora borealis (the northern lights) and I’ll be there.
Thank you to Stuart Holmes for the amazing photo.