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Beating the big freeze – and raising £40,000!

A fantastic effort by supporters, players, and volunteers

30 November 2021

Ollie Palmer, Alex Woodyard, Ben Heneghan and Darius Charles were among 70 incredible volunteers who raised a staggering £40,000 by spending a freezing cold night at our new stadium to help raise funds for the homeless.

Just a few hours earlier, the intrepid first team trio had been sweating buckets to help us grab a 2-2 draw against Fleetwood. But that seemed a distant memory as temperatures plummeted on Saturday evening and they climbed into sleeping bags on the main concourse under our Cappagh stand - with just two thin sheets of cardboard between them and the rock-hard concrete floor.

It was a sobering experience for all the hardy souls who took part and gave everyone a hint of how wretched life will be like this Christmas for homeless people across the Merton, Wandsworth and Kingston boroughs – and everywhere else for that matter.

"The cause is the only thing that matters but, from a first team perspective, I was proud the players volunteered to take part off their own back,” said our proud Head Coach Mark Robinson.

“It shows they understand the player/fan attachment we want to build. To do it after a game is the worst possible recovery you could have but they were insistent - despite my reservations!

“Everyone involved obviously deserves huge credit and once again they showed what a great community club we are.”

Our chief executive, Joe Palmer, and Dons Trust co-chair Xavier Wiggins were also among the participants. After watching the game, they headed for The Phoenix pub where two homeless people - Bob Walsh and Colin Walker - spoke about the brutal realities of life on the streets.

The Big Sleep Out was organised by our fabulous Dons Local Action Group in partnership with the Tooting Community Kitchen, Faith in Action (Merton) and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness. The funds raised will be donated to support DLAG and its partner organisations in supporting the homeless.

The aim was to raise £20,000 – but the target was smashed out of sight as donations reached almost double that figure, including Gift Aid.

“A massive thank you to absolutely everyone who took part or contributed,” said Xavier. “We came back to Wimbledon determined to be more than just a football club and events like this – which were supported by the Mayor of Merton, our CEO, our fans and volunteers and local residents – say everything about the club we are proud to be.”

If you’ve not yet had a chance, then there is still time to donate by clicking on the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DLAGsleepout .

Take a look below at the video from the Big Sleep Out.


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