A week in: Councillor, 73, still going strong in charity challenge to sleep rough for 12 nights

A 73-year-old local councillor has now been sleeping rough for a week, and will continue to do so until Remembrance Sunday this weekend.

Councillor Barry Hunt started on his latest fundraising push last Tuesday (November 2) and has braved adverse weather conditions during his time sleeping outside.

Councillor Hunt will continue to do this until the end of the week in an attempt to raise funds for Veterans charity SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity.

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His commitment has led to increased support from local company ICL Boulby.

In a supportive statement from the company, a spokesperson said: “Twelve nights out in the cold, sleeping under the stars at cenotaphs around East Cleveland. That is the gruelling task now being undertaken by Redcar and Cleveland councillor Barry Hunt. It began in Redcar on the second of this month and has, since then, taken him to Guisborough, Saltburn, Moorsholm, Skelton, North Skelton and Brotton.

“On Wednesday it’ll be Carlin How. Thursday the 11th, it’ll be Skinningrove then Easington on Friday and finally on Saturday – Loftus.”

This is the second time the Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods has put himself to the test in order to raise funds for the Armed Forces Charity, SSAFA – formerly known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Families Association.

It was back in 2018 that Councillor Hunt first had the idea but the pandemic prevented a repeat performance. Now, at the age of seventy-three, he’s doing it again.

He said: “I aim to raise funds for SSAFA to raise awareness of the issues of homelessness and the mental health problems some suffer after leaving the armed services. I am doing this for every one of our armed services personnel, past and present. Those who have lost their lives, and those who live with the loss of limbs. We owe them so much.”

Councillor Barry Hunt
Councillor Barry Hunt
(Image: Copyright Unknown)

ICL Boulby general manager and Vice President Andrew Fulton said: “We supported Councillor Hunt on his first fundraising effort and we are proud to increase our support as a way of paying tribute to him, and to those members of our armed forces who fall upon difficult times when they leave service. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten.”

Sponsorship contributions can still be made via JustGiving, search Barry Hunt.

He added: “I am extremely grateful to everybody who has contributed to my fundraising efforts.”

“It’s not too late for people to chip in. No sum is too small.”

Speaking to Teesside Live, Councillor Hunt said it hasn’t been easy with the freezing November weather conditions.

“First two nights were really wet; then I’ve had some cold ones, mild ones and windy ones! Luckily I was out of the way in Moorsom on Bonfire Night so the fireworks didn’t affect me.”

“It’s certainly been a challenge but even if there was 6 feet of snow outside I’d still be carrying on with my challenge until Sunday.”

His seventh night will be spent at Brotton cenotaph, which is the ward he works for. Councillor Hunt will finish his sleep out in the town where he sits on the local council, Loftus, where he will be laying wreaths as part of the Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

Councillor Hunt has had a lot of support from the communities where he has been sleeping at in the East Cleveland area, he said their support has spurred him on to keep going.

“Being alone with my thoughts in the early hours of every morning has certainly been a struggle but the support from the communities has been amazing.”

“The people I’m raising money for are the heroes but everyone who has helped me along the way and donated are absolute stars.”

Councillor Hunt would like to thank everyone who has supported him on his journey so far, any donations can be made here.

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Teesside Live – Redcar and Cleveland