Former Norwich City striker Grant Holt forced to pull out of charity sleep out, but pledges to do it tonight instead
PUBLISHED: 23:05 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 23:48 14 November 2017
When former Norwich City captain Grant Holt agreed to brave the elements and sleep rough to support the city's homeless, he didn't realise he might be needed to pull the boots on for a match in Hampshire the next morning.
The ex-Canary was among those who signed up for Norfolk charity The Benjamin Foundation’s annual Sleep Out, which will take place in Norwich this Friday.
But, the striker, who netted 78 goals in a memorable Carrow Road stint, has since joined Barrow AFC as a player-coach, following a brief spell with King’s Lynn Town.
And on Saturday he needs to be available for selection for the Cumbrian side’s Vanarama National League clash with Eastleigh FC, so has had to withdraw from Friday night’s event.
However Holt, whose other clubs include Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale, Nottingham Forest, Shrewsbury Town and Hibernian, is not letting that stop him from raising money for The Benjamin Foundation.
He tweeted: “Afternoon everyone, unfortunately I won’t be able to sleep out on Friday for the @CharityTBF due to a match. I will however be doing it tonight and doing live Twitter feed for you all.”
And he urged people to still donate to “this fantastic cause” and asked people to “give whatever you can”, through his Virgin Money Giving page.
The charity replied, tweeting their thanks to him for honouring his commitment to do a Sleep Out.
Holt later posted a video of himself in Norwich looking to find a place to bed down, which was watched by 2,000 people.
In it, he said: “I’m very lucky, I only have to do this for one night. And I’ve been in my nice warm house before I’ve set out tonight. Unfortunately other people haven’t got the opportunity I have. It’s been taken away from them. They’re trying their best to get out of it.
“You start looking thinking where would be a good place to sleep. I’ve had my dinner but you think if you’ve been like this all day and you’re thinking where’s a good place to sleep? For me it’s just one night and I’m very lucky.”
He also answered questions from fans, including who he fancies for the Premier League (Manchester City) and what sauce he’d have on a bacon roll (tomato sauce, all day long).
The annual event challenges people to spend one night sleeping rough to raise money for the charity’s work with young homeless people in Norfolk and Suffolk.
It gives people a taste of what it is like for the city’s rough sleepers.
Over the past two years, it has raised £45,000 for the charity, with more than 160 people taking part.
This year it is being held in the car park of the EDP and Norwich Evening News offices in Rouen Road.
Chris Elliott, marketing manager for the Benjamin Foundation, said: “It takes people out of their comfort zone to spend a challenging night outside in the cold, with the noise that’s always present in a city centre.
“It’s not the life a homeless person has but it makes you think differently about the issue.”
Those taking part are advised to bring a sleeping bag, cardboard and plenty of layers of warm and waterproof clothing.
People are expected to arrive between 7pm and 8pm on the night of the challenge. It finishes at 7am the next morning.
The Benjamin Foundation’s two main services give young homeless people the skills needed to live independently, while also providing them with accommodation.
It provides a home and support to more than 100 young people at any one time in Norfolk and Suffolk.