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'Sleep-Out' students raise €178,000 for homeless

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Belvedere College students sleep out for two days to raise money for three very deserving charities working to combat homelessness; Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again charities.…..

Belvedere College students sleep out for two days to raise money for three very deserving charities working to combat homelessness; Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again charities.…..

Belvedere College students sleep out for two days to raise money for three very deserving charities working to combat homelessness; Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again charities.…..

Belvedere pupils who slept on the cold streets of Dublin managed to raise €178,000 for homeless charities this Christmas.

Seventy-five sixth year students succeeded in exceeding the target of €143,000 which had been set by pupils in last year's 'sleep-out.'

Pupils from the Jesuit secondary school in Dublin have been a regular sight at Christmas time with their sleeping bags and buckets for the past 31 years.

Delighted Leaving Cert pupil Jay Duffy (inset), son of Boyzone's Keith Duffy, took part in the sleep-out this year. He tweeted afterwards: "Thanks to the generosity of people over the last 3 days we have managed to raise €178,000 for the homeless. #sleepout14 has broke the record."

Jay (18) used his star contacts to help raise the profile of the pupils' efforts this Christmas. Among those who showed public support this year was One Direction's Niall Horan who went on social media to encourage others to donate.

The charities benefiting this year include Focus Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again.

For three days and two nights, the pupils donned high-vis jackets and shook collection buckets in the city centre.

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They took shelter underneath the columns of the GPO and College Green, sleeping for an hour or two at most.

They were also required to fast for a period during the initiative,

"It's just a small insight into what it's really like to be homeless," Jay added.

The boys were given a boost when U2 guitarist The Edge stopped by to give a private donation to boost their efforts.

"It's tough I won't lie," said Jay. "It's a strange experience waking up on O'Connell Street. I've never done anything like this before, it's a very unique experience. I'm very fortunate to get to do it."

More than 200 students applied to do it and 75 names were picked out of a hat, said Jay, who was also on the publicity committee.

The boys also received support from Kodaline, Ryan Tubridy, Killian Scott, Charlie Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Gay Byrne, among others.

The boys admitted that sleeping out has made them appreciate home comforts a lot more this Christmas.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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