Norwich School sixth-form students ‘sleep rough’ in Norwich Cathedral’s cloisters to raise funds for homeless charity

A group of students swapped the comfort of their beds for the cold floors of Norwich Cathedral to raise money for a local homeless charity at the weekend.

Between 8.30pm on Saturday and 7.30am on Sunday there were 43 Norwich School sixth-formers sleeping rough in the cathedral's cloisters, to raise money for St Martin's Housing Trust.

So far the students have raised over �400 and donated clothing for the charity, which provides emergency accommodation, residential care, support and development to the homeless in Norfolk.

The group was visited by Norwich's ghost tour guide, the Man in Black, who told stories associated with the cathedral and surrounding Tombland area - including the story of Norwich's cannibal girl ghost.

Organiser, Alex Boyt, said: 'It was a thought-provoking experience and all those who took part were left in no doubt as to how tough the reality of sleeping rough must be.

'We hope that the money raised and the clothing donations go some way towards helping to improve the lives of those without homes in the community.'

At 7.30am on Sunday the students ended their experience with breakfast in the refectory before heading home with a new appreciation of the comfort of their homes.

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Derek Player, general manager at St Martin's Housing Trust, said: 'Successive generations at the school have taken an interest in the plight of homeless people in Norwich and I think we at St Martin's are delighted that this tradition is being kept up.

'As long as it is set up safely and is properly supervised, I think it's a good idea that young people identify with the hardships of people who have nowhere else to go.

'In 2011 our team was in contact with over 500 people and 140 were verified as having slept rough for at least one night.

'The money raised will go towards our training and development programme for life skills support for those who have experienced periods of homelessness, so that they can live independently once we find them a permanent home.'

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