Portsmouth area veterans are spending 120 hours in portable toilets on Southsea Common for charity Forgotten Veterans UK

FOUR veterans are spending 120 hours in portable toilet cabins on Southsea Common in a bid to support former members of the armed forces.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 4:55 am

Dedicated Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett, Gary Sprakes, and Chris Nicholls will be confined to the cramped conveniences between Portsmouth Naval Memorial and the Esplanade Car Park until 4pm on Sunday.

The fundraising foursome aim to earn £1,500 for Forgotten Veterans UK, a charity based inside Fort Cumberland, Eastney, that has been running for more than four years transforming the lives of veterans across Britain.

Having started in the cabins that have just enough room to squat in at 4pm yesterday, Gary said the group was already looking forward to stretching their legs – and freshening up.

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Pictured: Gary Weaving, the CEO of FVUK, with Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett, Gary Sprakes and Chris Nicholls. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Former submariner Gary, from Waterlooville, who served for 22 years, said: ‘When we finish, all four of us are going to run down that beach and go for a swim. We will need it.’

The 70-year-old added: ‘The hardest part will be trying to sleep at night.’

He said: ‘Having spent most of my military career working on submarines, I don’t think I’ll have any problems staying in a bog.’

Pictured: Members of Forgotten Veterans UK in Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The group have already raised almost £500. Including the four toilet squatters and a support group from the charity there are 15 people taking part.

Volunteers are accepting donations for Forgotten Veterans, and selling a wide range of merchandise, from an adjacent stall.

Charity founder Gary Weaving said a steady stream of donations were coming in – but the stunt was aimed at raising awareness.

Pictured: Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett with his dog, Buster, Gary Sprakes and Chris Nicholls in their homes for the next five nights. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘I’m sure we will do well by Sunday. But the money isn’t the be all and end all – it’s about getting 15 veterans doing something fun and spreading the word.’

Team member Ian, a former infantryman who spent six years in the army, said the charity helped turn his life around when he attempted suicide three years ago.

He said: ‘In the past seven years, I have been in a bad place.

‘I was homeless when I contacted the group. They’ve helped me a lot. This is my way of saying thank you.’

He added: ‘We hope people will come down for a chat and find out more about what we’re doing.’

Anyone wishing to support the group can make a donation totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/extreme-portaloo-challenge

L&S Portable Toilet Hire provided the toilets for the five-day unofficial world record attempt.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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