In November 2015, local activist Deborah Hinton (Gorran Haven) and Cornwall Councillor Doug Scrafton (Par and St. Blazey Gate) took part in the annual Eden Project Sleep Out in order to raise money for local charity St. Petroc's. Deborah has kindly provided her account of the evening.
At the last St Austell and Newquay Liberal Democrat Executive meeting, Doug Scrafton (Cornwall Councillor, Par and St. Blazey Gate) suggested that some of us should show our disgust for government policies by demonstrating our support for the homeless in a practical way, a number of people agreed that the way to do this was to join the mass ‘Sleep Out’ at the Eden project at the end of November, so Doug and I braved the elements.
Personally I think that every homeless person should be awarded a medal, I could not possibly have lasted more than one night, even though I was snuggly in my sleeping bag, wearing my daughter's VSO/Mongolia long johns and vest, the real problem for me was that concrete with a thin layer of plastic and cardboard is exceptionally unconducive to sleep and to make matters worse the realistic 'street lighting' over our heads, ‘to enhance the quality of our experience’, combined with the constant stream of people en route to the loos, made sleep a non-starter, the radio (verified as ‘genuine equipment’ during my detailed research with the homeless in Westminster) was a Life Saver.
Doug and I discussed world politics at great length over our ‘soup run’ dinner of barley soup washed down with water; during a night filled with fitful fantasies, perhaps enhanced by indigestion, I became increasingly unsure whether the reports on the World Service, were real events from Burundi and the Congo or nightmares resulting from our conversations it was all most disorientating. Despite the ‘bedtime story’ told to us by the Bishop of St Germans I felt that I had not slept at all and the following day I experienced the worst dose of ‘jet lag’ ever, it took me three days to recover which I suspect was not completely unrelated to the 3 score years and eleven that are also my lot. However Doug and I raised a lot of money for a very good cause, St Petroc’s and we were delighted to demonstrate that the Lib Dem’s here in St Austell and Newquay appreciate the work that they do.