Business leaders are ready to bed down under the stars at Fratton Park tonight for CEO Sleepout

Andy Preston, who founded CEO Sleepout
Andy Preston, who founded CEO Sleepout
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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AFTER months of raising cash and awareness, the county’s business community will unite for the Pompey CEO Sleepout tonight.

The feat will see more than 65 leaders and decision makers bed down for a night outside at Fratton Park, in a bid to battle the plight of homelessness in the city.

So far participants – which include the high sheriff of Hampshire and kind-hearted local traders – have seen more than £10,000 pledged for the sponsored sleepout.

And when counted in full, that cash will be split three ways among The Society of St James, Pompey in the Community and the national CEO Sleepout.

But before that can happen, the long-awaited rough sleep itself must take place – and Andy Preston, the brain behind the national initiative as a whole, said the Portsmouth community should be abundantly proud of what it has achieved up until now.

He said: ‘Portsmouth has recruited some really hard-hitters from the local private and public sectors, so I think this is going to be a great night.

‘Of course we have that famous leaderboard online displaying the top figures everybody has raised, but even those who cannot make it on to that board are playing a crucial role. All I can say is well done to everyone.’

In a look ahead to what the cash from the Pompey CEO Sleepout could go on to achieve, Andy said of previous events: ‘We have donated huge amounts of money to national charities, smaller amounts to local charities and everything in between.

‘But to even get to a point where we can bring the CEO Sleepout to Portsmouth is amazing – it’s our southernmost event.

‘And with the work charities are doing to tackle homelessness in the city and make a difference in people’s lives, I have no doubt we will only do great things in Portsmouth.’

Among those taking part tonight are Mark Waldron, editor of The News, Pompey CEO Mark Catlin, Pompey in the Community CEO Clare Martin and Portsmouth City Council chief executive and leader David Williams and Donna Jones.

To find out more click here.