A TENACIOUS lady completed a sleep-out for young runaways - with a little help from a cuddly companion.
Trish Taylor, of Woodland Road, Wath, spent 11 hours at Doncaster Minster to raise awareness of homelessness service SAFE@LAST.
The 64-year-old, who suffers from a spinal condition and had to sit up all night, revealed how literary legend Paddington Bear got her through.
“I always wanted to do a sleep-out, but people said I wasn’t well enough,” she said.
“I’m quite accident-prone, too - my husband calls me Paddington.
“Before the sleep-out, he gave me a little Paddington teddy to look after me and a label for my coat.
“I still nearly tripped and fell on someone who was sleeping in an aisle.”
Trish raised more than £655 for SAFE@LAST, which supports children into safe and secure accommodation.
“I had to sit up in the pew all night,” she said. “I didn’t get any sleep at all \_ but that made me even more proud.
“I was determined to do it and I was gobsmacked at the wonderful response I got - I’d raised £100 before I even did the sleep-out.
“I feel so humbled by everyone’s support. I just want to say a big thank you to all of them.”
Trish has been supporting good causes since she was 17, when she took part in a 25-mile charity walk.
She has raised funds and collected donations for SAFE@LAST for about ten years.
“I try to support different charities because my son is disabled,” said Trish.
“Children’s charities are especially important to me.”
The event at Doncaster Minster saw several fundraisers sleep in the building’s cold, dark aisles.
They were welcomed by the Rt Rev Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster, before singing carols and bedding down as comfortably as they could.
Together, they raised over £4,000 for Depaul UK - the charity which runs the SAFE@LAST service.
Tracy Haycox, director of children and young people’s services, said: “We want to stop young people sleeping in unsafe places. Events like this one raise awareness of that problem.
“We have done sleep-outs around the country, but this was the first one in this region.
“The idea was to stay overnight somewhere uncomfortable - I think Trish had that experience more than anyone else.”
Trish said: “Just being in the minster with everyone was an amazing experience, it’s a really wonderful building.
“But going out to the toilet was freezing. I feel like I really earned every penny.”
Visit www.safeatlast.co.uk for more information about the service, or uk.depaulcharity.org for more about the charity.