Ponteland head joins sleep-out to support homeless charity

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Caroline Pryer (left) with Alison Byard and Rhona Dunn, the morning after their charity sleep out in Morpeth for Changing Lives.
Caroline Pryer (left) with Alison Byard and Rhona Dunn, the morning after their charity sleep out in Morpeth for Changing Lives.

THE headteacher of Ponteland Middle School celebrated the school’s official conversion to an academy by helping to raise over £1,000 for a homeless charity.

Dr Caroline Pryer joined Alison Byard, the former mayor of Morpeth, and Rhona Dunn, of Morpeth Rotary Club, on a 24-hour charity sleep-out in Morpeth Market Place on Saturday, August 27, for the charity Changing Lives.

Just the day before, Dr Pryer had signed the conversion agreement to confirm the school’s status as an academy, a process which had taken around 18 months.

She said: “It was something of a relief to know the school was now officially an academy and being able to then support a charity was the best way to celebrate.”

The trio raised £1,100 throughout the day and night by collecting for Changing Lives, and slept on benches in the market place.

“We met a man who had chosen to be homeless and had been walking around the UK for 11 years who we spoke to and shared some pizza with,” she added.

“We also met a girl who was sitting by herself and while we didn’t want to invade her privacy, eventually, through conversation with her, we were able to introduce her to the Changing Lives charity who were able to help her.

“It’s quite extraordinary. We had good fun for 24 hours raising money and meeting so many different people, but it makes you realise how fortunate you are yourself.”

Jill Watkin, fund-raising manager for Changing Lives, said: “We are extremely grateful to Rhona, Caroline and Alison for giving us 24 hours of time from their busy lives to raise over £1,000.

“The gentleman moved on from Morpeth, but the lady had been rough sleeping for 10 days. Changing Lives secured her accommodation in a women’s refuge where she received the support she needed.”

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