Ninety-five hardy fundraisers got a taste of what it’s like to sleep rough when they took part in the Huddersfield Town Foundation’s Big Sleep Out 2022.

So far more than £20,000 has been raised and the money will be shared between the foundation’s breakfast clubs and charities helping tackle homelessness and poverty.

One of those who bedded down in the John Smith’s Stadium for the night was the foundation’s marketing and communications executive ASHLEY COLBOURN. Here’s his story of the night.

Ashley Colbourn

This year’s Big Sleep Out was a first for me. Having only done the virtual version on the balcony of my fourth floor flat last year, I was unsure what I was letting myself in for. 

Throughout the morning and afternoon I was tasked with helping to set up the event, collecting bacon and bread rolls kindly donated by Haigh’s Farm Shop for the morning after and setting up gazebos and refreshment stalls. That helped keep my mind off what was to come.

As night fell I headed back to the John Smith’s Stadium to welcome our participants, who arrived from 9pm. 

The first task of the night was to set up people’s ‘beds’ for the night, using cardboard kindly donated by BM Packaging and whatever sleeping bag/pillow combination they had bought with them. 

There was also the chance to grab a warm drink and mingle with the other sleepers, which was nice given the reduced numbers of in-person events in the last two years. 

After a briefing from chief executive Siobhan Atkinson and main event organiser Lisa Bottomley, participants played a range of games and quizzes to occupy the time. 

In my role as marketing and communications executive I was tasked with posting live social media content on the night, including photos and videos.

This involved interviewing many of those taking part including Dean and Janet Hoyle, club commercial director Ian Birtley and Siobhan Atkinson.

Thumbs up from Dean Hoyle

Once that was all sorted it was almost time to settle down, with the lights going out on the pitch at midnight. 

I chose to bed down in the concourse of the Chadwick Lawrence Stand, with lots of people sleeping out in the stands. 

After an hour or so of settling down I managed to fall asleep around 1am, wearing three layers including my big Town bench jacket. 

The cold wasn’t too bad, it was more the lack of comfort that laying on the concrete floor provided that got to me!

The lights were turned back on at 6am and it was fantastic to be treated to a bacon and egg sandwich kindly cooked by KSDL Catering’s Ian Simpson and Town director Ann Hough.


After saying goodbye to everybody that had taken part there was a short period of packing down before we all left the stadium with a real sense of achievement. 

Throughout the night there was a real sense of community and to play a small part in raising such a significant amount of money (currently more than £20,000) made me feel really proud. 

There’s still time to make a donation in support of everybody that took part. To do so, please CLICK HERE.

Half of the final total will support the Town foundation’s breakfast clubs, with the other half open to tender from local organisations tackling homelessness and/or poverty. 

To keep up to date with what the Town Foundation is up to, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – @htafcfoundation.