Saturday, 4 October 2008
I met my fellow Team members at Ernst & Young (near City Hall) who hosted an evening's entertainment before the Sleep-Out. Although I had met Nic Evans (Key Equipment Finance) at the CNET Awards, I hadn't yet met Steve Clarke (AOL) or Graham Benson (M&M Direct). We sent texts to arrange the meeting place. Our evening started on a high note, in the knowledge we had surpassed out £5,000 target, with the help of a late donation of £1,000 from Sybase - one of Steve' suppliers.
The evening started with speeches from Ken Deeks (Byte Night founder), the Chief Executive of Action for Children, and others. Apparently, Byte Night is the most profitable fund-raising event in the Action for Children (formerly NCH) calendar, and the London venue (there are others) was expected to raise around £400k. There were about 350 London Sleepers - one from the Public Sector - me!
Quite a few companies and celebrities generously supported the event. The Ernst & Young contribution , for example, was valued at £35k. They provided everyone with meals, a "chill-out zone" for those who wanted it, and there was a quiz run by BBC TV News Presenter, Emily Maitlis. I think we may have come last! We got full marks in the first round, thanks to Steve, his Smart 'Phone and the Internet (I imagine everyone else cheated, too) but our performance in the other three rounds was dismal. I insisted that the Barbi Doll and Madonna were 50, this year, which certainly didn't help; they are 40. Sorry, Madge!
There were also auctions; a Dr Who script signed by David Tennant and Billie Piper went for well over £2,000.
The Bar closed at 11.00 sharp, and we adjourned to Potters Field for the sleep-out. The organisers provided survival bags and brollys, there were ground sheets and refreshments (and breakfast in the morning) was provided. I'm sure you're now thinking this was all very cosy, so you will hopefully be queueing-up to form Public Sector Teams with me next year. Seriously, please let me know if you can join me next year!
A cold night was forecast but, unlike Steve's mate, Matthew Lagden, of Action for Children, who looked like Nanook of the North (as did many others) I slept in T-Shirt & underwear! I felt warm enough to start with, and dozed-off after a while, but awoke frozen, after not much sleep. I did have warm clothing with me, including a sleeping bag liner that Chris made for me when I camp at events like Le Mans, but really couldn't be bothered to clamber in to them, so concentrated on trying to close the gap at the neck of my sleeping bag where a chill draft was getting-in. I couldn't get back to sleep, 'though, so got up at 5.30, had a coffee and bacon buttie, said my goodbyes and home to a nice warm house.