Freddie’s year-long sleepout raises more than £25,000 to help foodbanks

A WEST End boy has raised more than £25,000 for a foodbank charity by sleeping in a tent in his garden for a year.

Ten-year-old Freddie Owen passed the first anniversary of his sleep-out last weekend and is determined to continue for as long as he can.

Ten year old Freddie Owen has passed the one year mark in his charity sleepout, raising a whopping £25,000 for foodbank charity the Trussel Trust

Freddie started the challenge on 27 March 2020 with the aim of sleeping out for a year and raising £250 for the Trussell Trust, the umbrella organisation for food banks across Britain, including Woking.

The money has kept coming in, with a big increase recently in the run-up to the first anniversary and interviews on ITV and by Chris Evans on Virgin Radio.

Freddie also appeared on BBC Radio Surrey, which organised a message from Bear Grylls, the adventurer, TV presenter and Chief Scout.

He was joined for the first anniversary sleep-out night by his mum Nicola, dad James and sister Emily, 14, and their seven-month-old miniature schnauzer, Pippa. The family used a second tent so they could all join in.

Several of his friends at Bishopsgate School in Englefield Green also supported him by sleeping in tents or dens in their gardens.

“It was an amazing feeling to have that support,” Freddie said.

He has become a bit of a celebrity and found the attention a little overwhelming when he returned to school earlier this year after the latest lockdown.

“I had everyone coming up to talk to me, which was a bit embarrassing,” Freddie said.

Having passed the first year of his sleep-out and eclipsing his initial fundraising target, he has decided not to set any other targets and speaks of continuing at least until he is 15.

Freddie said the first few nights of the sleep-out were a little uncomfortable, but he soon got used to it and enjoys being in his tent. He has slept through thick snow and storms, one of which destroyed his tent, but is determined to continue.

He says that raising so much money for the Trussell Trust is “the best feeling in the world”.

The first coronavirus lockdown highlighted the problems of food poverty, which spurred Freddie into action.

He said: “It is not fair that many children have to live off school meals because 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 she has gently suggested that a year of fundraising might be enough, but says Freddie is determined.

“I’ll have to change the title of his fundraising page from ‘one-year challenge’ to ‘multiple-year challenge’,” she joked.

Nicola said she has also teasingly suggested renting out his bedroom or converting it into a study.

“It is still very much Freddy’s room and he spends a lot of time in there during the day,” she said.

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

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