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Cold and wet sleepout

06 February 2015

FROM midnight, there was a slow and steady rainfall, and, although it was not quite freezing, it was a very cold night. Most of the 24 people who slept out in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul, Bromley, were well equipped, with good-quality sleeping bags, and plenty of cardboard boxes.

Among them was the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff (above), who was there to show solidarity with homeless people, and to raise awareness of their plight. "He got quite a lot of sleep," the Vicar of Bromley, the Revd Anne Jablonski, commented. "He looked quite perky this morning."

She was so well covered up, and had so many layers on, that she actually had to take some off. "It was a really good event, really good-natured," she said. "Everyone there was in good spirits on the night, but recognised how incredibly hard it would be to have to do the same, night after night."

Bishop Langstaff has long been involved with housing and the problems of homelessness, and currently chairs the Trustees of Housing Justice. "Homeless people are very often marginalised and vulnerable," he said, "and can easily be cut off from sources of support. . . Sleeping out [like this] in no way replicates what it is like to be on the streets for a prolonged period, but I hope in this way to raise awareness of the issues."

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