Home   Grantham   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Brave veteran's charity mission as Jason Roffey takes part in Great Tommy Sleep Out in Fulbeck’s Mannakin Hall





A Royal Navy veteran has survived his first night sleeping in a creepy mannequin graveyard for charity.

Sleaford-based Jason Roffey is spending four nights sleeping outside at Mannakin Hall, in Fulbeck, as part of a fundraising campaign to raise crucial funds for veterans affected by homelessness.

Not only that, but he’s also being given Top Gear-style challenges to complete on a daily basis. Last night, he was tasked with creating a shelter out of body parts to sleep under.

Jason with one of the mannequins. | Image: Supplied
Jason with one of the mannequins. | Image: Supplied

The event is part of the Royal British Legion Industries’ Great Tommy Sleep Out, which asks people to brave a cold night throughout March to raise funds and awareness of the roughly 6,000 military veterans living on the streets in the UK.

Of his first night, Jason said: “Luckily, the rain held off with only a couple of drops, but it wasn’t a great night’s sleep.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox every morning - sign up to The Briefing here

“I would literally hear a creak when the wind picked up, and the mannequins would swing together in the trees. It was a little bit spooky, but I survived.”

His first night did include a couple of supporters, including an Army veteran and South Kesteven District Council’s Forces Champion.

His first task was to build a shelter from the mannequins. | Image: Supplied
His first task was to build a shelter from the mannequins. | Image: Supplied

However, tonight (Tuesday) Jason will be on his own… well, not exactly on his own as he will be challenged to wine and dine with one of the mannequins.

In preparation, Jason nipped home and picked up a candle and a bow tie and he’s hoping the mannequin will be suitably pleased by a tea of cheeseburger and cupcakes!

As part of the challenge, Jason has launched a GoFundMe page, which has so far raised £904 – more than £400 above his initial target. He now aims to reach £1,000.

Last year, the demand for the Legion’s services for homeless veterans increased by 45%, and the charity expects the cost of housing those already supported to more than treble due to the cost of living crisis.

Night one done ... please dont forget we are going live tonight with challenge two which is dinner with Lady Stephanie.

Posted by Jay Sun on Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Every penny raised by the Great Tommy Sleep Out campaign will go directly to the Legion’s range of services – providing homes, welfare, and employment support to military veterans.

A post on Jason’s Facebook page outlines how the money might be spent, including £5 for toiletries, £15 for hot meals, and £25 for fresh bedding, up to £70 for electrical kitchen items and £100 for support and training for employment.

Jason urges anyone who is watching to ‘have a go’ at a sleep out on their own.

Jason-Roffey in his Royal Navy days.
Jason-Roffey in his Royal Navy days.

“Even if you raise £50 or £100, every penny counts,” he said, noting the variety of locations in which people had taken part, including shop doorways, their own gardens, or even involving grandchildren and younger kids with a campout in the living room.

Jason, a former military man, didn't find the idea of sleeping out a major hardship.

“At the back of my mind, though, I know that in the worst-case scenario here I can get in my car and go home, but there are 6,000 military veterans living on the streets who can’t go home.

“They can’t just pack up; they go through this every day. Every day is a massive struggle for them.”

Jason will be sleeping outside at Mannakin Hall, Fulbeck. Copyright: George-Parish
Jason will be sleeping outside at Mannakin Hall, Fulbeck. Copyright: George-Parish

He said the numbers angered him, adding: “They should be looked after straight off the bat; there shouldn’t need to be charities. Government should be helping them out instantly.”

He acknowledged there were multiple issues involved but said more needed to be done to help veterans.

Mannakin Hall has offered to let anyone who wants to try out the big sleep out – or a similar event – to use the premises to raise money.

The company is a mannequin hire business that also diverts dolls from landfill. There are currently about 15,000 mannequins on-site.

Jason will be sleeping outside at Mannakin Hall, Fulbeck. Copyright: George-Parish
Jason will be sleeping outside at Mannakin Hall, Fulbeck. Copyright: George-Parish

Roz Edwards, director and founder, said the location’s military history as a dining room for the airmen in the Second World War as part of RAF Fulbeck was a wonderful link for the charity.

“It’s a really good charity, a really good cause, and a pleasure to have the space for it to be done,” she said.

She warned that there have previously been eerie issues picked up by paranormal investigators.

“Quite often you can think you see somebody move and there’s nobody there or sat in a room and working away and you feel someone coming in and look around and there’s no-one there,” she said.

However, she added it was a rare occurrence.

The Hall is hosting a livestream at 7 pm every night with Jason and his companions (mannequin or not) – which people can tune into to discover future challenges.

Have you got a story to share? Email news@ lincsonline.co.uk



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More