Garden sleep-out raising foodbank funds

A 10-YEAR-OLD West End boy is raising money for a charity fighting hunger by sleeping in his garden in a tent for a year.

Freddie Owen started the sleepout on 27 March and initially intended to stay out for a few nights, but then decided to carry on.

FUNDRAISING WITHIN TENT – Freddie has set his sights on sleeping outside for a year

He hoped to raise £250 for the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks across Britain, but has so far collected more than £4,600.

His mum, Nicola, said Freddie has stayed out in all weathers and has recently moved on to a second tent after the first one was destroyed in a storm.

“He came in at 5am and said, ‘mummy, look at my tent’,” Nicola said.

“It was wrapped around a garden structure. Freddie couldn’t find the door at first and had to fight his way out,” she added.

Nicola put out a request for a tent and someone has donated one.

The new tent didn’t arrive for two days but Freddie was determined to continue sleeping outside and spent a couple of nights in a playhouse in the garden.

Freddie said: “It is not fair that many children have to live off school meals due to the fact that their parents can’t afford enough food for their families.

“When my mum found the Trussell Trust I immediately wanted to raise some money for them to continue their work on getting food to people in need.”

Nicola said Freddie has a thick sleeping bag with a blanket and quilt and has layers of clothing with a beanie and hoodie over his pyjamas.

“I’m amazed at his staying power. He has just never talked about sleeping inside and never questioned what he is doing,” she said.

Freddie was nine when he started the sleepout and continued over his 10th birthday at the end of May.

He went on holiday with his family, including his dad James and sister Emily, 13, in the summer. The rest of the family were in their motorhome but Freddie took his tent and slept in that.

He spends the time before sleeping listening to audio books, mostly Harry Potter and The Hobbit series.

Nicola said Freddie’s schoolfriends in Englefield Green are very supportive of his charity fundraising.

To donate to Freddie’s fundraising, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/freddie-owen123.

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