July 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Churchgoers spent a night among the headstones in a Hornchurch graveyard on Friday to raise money for a shower for the homeless.
Six parishioners lasted the cold night outside St Andrew’s Church with little but a sleeping bag, a small fire and a desire to raise awareness about the plight of Havering’s rough sleepers.
“The worst time was in the morning, at about five because the dew was settling and it was very very cold,” said 70-year-old Chris Felstead, one of the six out of seven who stayed out from 9pm until around 6am.
“I can understand some people not wanting to do it - but some people have to.”
He added that with the church bell ringing hourly, “none of us got a night’s sleep”.
“We all heard the bell, we all felt very uncomfortable lying on the ground, we all realised how tought it is.”
In conjunction with Hope4Havering (H4H), Mr Felstead and his fellow rough sleepers’ mission is to build a shower in the disabled toilet of one of the charity’s Hornchurch centres . So far around £2,000 has been pledged.
Every night, some 15 homeless people are left with no choice but to sleep one of the H4H shelters dotted around the borough.
A shower at one would make it slightly easier for them to “face the world”, said Mr Felstead, of Grey Towers, Hornchurch.
With funds pledged, the plan is to begin work in late July, though a completion date is unconfirmed because the job could be complex.
H4H has been operating in the borough since 2011, housing and supporting vulnerable homeless people.
The Christian charity has already helped more than 120 this year, but relies on donations to keep going.
• Visit www.hope4havering.org/support-us/donate to help out.