Former Army head to sleep rough in Norwich

Former head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, is set to sleep rough on the streets of Norwich – after he was made president of YMCA Norfolk.

One of Sir Richard's first acts as president of the charity will be to spend a night sleeping in the city centre on Saturday, October 30, along with Norfolk High Sheriff Charles Barratt and Judge Phillip Curl, to raise money for the YMCA and other local charities.

Sir Richard said: 'The motto of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, which I attended some years ago, is 'Serve to Lead'. Serving an organization like the YMCA in order to lead others to a better opportunity in life is, I think, really important.

'We always say look for a role model in leadership and the person who was the most obvious servant, who set out to lead, was Jesus Christ, who did the most menial task in washing his disciples' feet, thereby earning the right to lead them.

'The principles which underlie the Christian faith are the guiding principles of the YMCA and many of us believe that those are the right set of principles on which to base one's own life.

'Young people deserve a chance, especially those who through no fault of their own have had a difficult start in life. They need guidance and opportunity to make the most of themselves and that is what the YMCA does.'

Sir Richard succeeds Richard Jarrold, who has been awarded the highest honour possible from YMCA England. The Order of the Red Triangle was personally presented by its national chief executive Ian Green at last night's AGM of YMCA Norfolk, held at the Norwich Cathedral hostry.

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Mr Jarrold stood down after 40 years of service to the YMCA, saying: 'I care for the YMCA and the people it serves. It has been a privilege.'

Former chairman David Ingham, paid tribute to Mr Jarrold, saying: 'Richard has been of immense service to YMCA Norfolk over 40 years. It has been full-on, totally committed service for the whole time, motivated by his personal Christian faith.'

YMCA Norfolk chief executive, Tim Sweeting, told his first AGM that the past year had been one of immense change within the organization.

He said: 'We have a new chief executive, a new chair, a new �4.4m building and a �1m appeal fund. We have a new vision and strategy and have reorganized our staff structure to deliver it.

'We have chosen three words to sum up our new strategy – belong, contribute and thrive – these words encapsulate our aspirations for the thousands of young people we impact through our housing and schools work.

'This is the beginning of a new chapter in the work of YMCA Norfolk, which is adapting to meet the needs of young people in the three areas of housing, youth work and health and well-being.'

To sponsor Sir Richard Dannatt's charity sleep on Norwich's streets go to RichardDannattSleepout.

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