Jenny Agutter and Anthea Turner among celebrities sleeping rough in London charity event


TV presenter Anthea Turner and actress Jenny Agutter were among the thousands of people who slept rough in London at the Byte Night event

By Tamara Schofield

MORE THAN 17,000 people across the UK – including celebrities Anthea Turner and Jenny Agutter – slept rough in support of a charity that helps homeless children.

The event, in aid of Action for Children, took place on Friday (October 7) across 10 locations to highlight the plight of the 80,000 young people who are homeless in the UK each year through no fault of their own.

It is the UK’s largest sleep out event, having raised over £8.4 million since it began in 1998, and raises awareness about homelessness, which can include sofa-surfing as well as sleeping rough on the streets.

homeless-sleepActress Jenny Agutter, 63, who was supporting the Byte Night event in London for a 12th time, said: “I got involved because I was so privileged myself, I felt very lucky but I saw there were problems.

I didn’t feel comfortable just giving money on the street, I wanted to get involved in some way.

It would be nice to see a real change in our society.”

Each year hundreds of like-minded individuals and teams from the information technology and business services give up their beds for one night to raise vital funds, hence the name ‘Byte’ night.


Former Eastenders actor Larry Lamb supported the event for Action for Children

Television presenter Anthea Turner, 56, said most people were ignorant about the stark figures of how many young people are homeless and said she wanted to continue to do something to help.

Activities in London included a warm meal before heading out, a quiz with former Eastenders actor Larry Lamb, an acoustic set with Starsailor frontman James Walsh and a raffle draw with Ms Turner.

Jae, an Action for Children service user, was a key speaker at the event.


Action for Children support worker Andy, who helped 17-year-old Jae turn his life around

The audience heard how the 17-year-old never missed a day of college despite living in a garden shed.

Through the help and support of Action for Children he has now moved into his own home.

He said: “I’m grateful to my support worker, he helped me maintain my place at college while going for interviews to find somewhere to live.”

The money raised allows Action for Children to continue to help thousands of young people by tackling the root causes of homelessness.

Abuse in the home, family breakdown and mental health issues are just a few of the reasons which lead to many young people becoming homeless.

Mike Rebeiro, co-chair of the charity’s London event board, said: “There are so many children who will be waking up on the streets tomorrow morning who will not have anyone there for them.

If all the homeless children were put in the 2012 Olympic stadium there would still be 20,000 left queuing outside.”

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