A GROUP of West Craven veterans will spend Saturday night (March 23) sleeping outdoors as part of the 'Great Tommy Sleep Out'.

The ex-forces veterans from Barnoldswick and Earby, who will be giving up their beds to raise awareness of veteran homelessness, have been given permission by Pendle Council to spend the night on the green opposite the war memorial in Barnoldswick.

They will be raising money for The Royal British Legion Industries and will draw attention to the fact that an estimated 6,000 veterans are homeless in the UK.

Mark Dunstan, a member of The West Craven Veterans Group and a committee member of The Barnoldswick and Earby Royal British Legion, said: “I will be joining seven other ex-forces veterans when we will be swapping our beds for sleeping bags and tents for the night.

“We are coming together to support each other as members of the veterans group; to put ourselves at a little discomfort for one night to support fellow veterans who are less fortunate than us and are often sleeping outside without a choice.

“The Great Tommy Sleep Out is an annual, national event, but this is our first time joining in, and we are looking to make this an annual event.”

Pendle Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Kevin Salter, added: “This is a great event and cause that we naturally want to support. Providing these veterans with somewhere to carry out their fundraising event is our way of doing our bit to help.

“The Great Tommy Sleep Out is a fundraising challenge that is designed to support ex-service personnel who find themselves without a roof over their head. People who take part sleep outside for as many nights as they want to, in a tent or directly beneath the stars.

“The event is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women who find themselves without a home when they return to civilian life.

“The money raised will help to pay for emergency accommodation, welfare and healthcare support, employment training and work experience to help vulnerable veterans on the road to independence after leaving the Armed Forces.”

If you would like to support the West Craven veterans, visit: www.justgiving.com/team/WestCravenVeterans