Chelsea FC back sleep out for veterans’ charity
A sleep out is being held this month in aid of a veterans’ charity, and it has the backing of Chelsea Football Club, its players and the supporters’ trust.
The Big Stamford Bridge Sleep Out takes place on Saturday 25 March, to benefit Stoll, which runs the home for 500 ex-servicemen and women in Fulham Road, next to the stadium.
Among those backing the effort is Enzo Hernandez, the World Cup-winning midfielder that Chelsea signed in January.
Numbers are limited to 150, with more than 100 already signed up. To join the sleep out you must be over 18, and pledge to raise at least £50 in sponsorship. You’re limited to a sleeping bag, pillow and sheet of cardboard… no blow-up beds or duvets!
“It can get very cold as a wicked wind blows through the east stand,” said organiser Mark Meehan from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, who will be one of those bedding down. “There’s also a railway line just behind the stand, and a goods train always comes through during the night!”
Despite the chill, this year’s response has been the best-ever.
The aim is to raise awareness of Stoll’s work and help to ensure fewer military veterans sleep rough.
The Fulham charity, based in the Oswald Stoll mansions, supports veterans after they leave the armed forces, with more than half suffering from mental health conditions, many with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The first sleep out was staged in 2019, when Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood stopped by to wish everyone well. Last year Chelsea fans raised more than £22,000 for the charity, warming up at the end of a chilly night with a hot breakfast at 6am, provided by Chelsea FC.
Cllr David Morton, H&F’s Representative for the Armed Forces Community, thanked the Big Stamford Bridge Sleep Out organisers and participants. “Stoll works hard to improve the lives of our veterans, and I’d like to say a big thank you to those taking part in the sleep out,” he said.
At Stoll, fundraising coordinator Jill Taylor added: “The money raised from last year’s Big Stamford Bridge Sleep Out was incredible and made a real impact on the support we were able to offer our veterans. We are looking forward to working with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and everyone taking part in this year’s event.”
Find out about the work Stoll do.
To join in or support those bedding down beneath the east stand at Stamford Bridge visit the Chelsea Supporters Trust website.
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