BUYING a copy of The Big Issue has inspired a retired Bewdley couple to leave the comfort of their home and spend a night sleeping rough as part of a fundraiser.

Peter and Sue Hayden have signed up to the ‘Sleepout’ in aid of the Big Issue Foundation which will see them spend the night under the stars on the terraces of the Oval pavilion in South London on November 16.

Peter, aged 72, bought a copy of the magazine at Snow Hill station in Birmingham which advertised the event and it resulted in him and 69-year-old Sue to take part.

They said they are concerned at the number of homeless people they see when visiting their children and other family around the UK and wanted to do something to help.

They both retired from their jobs in education around seven years ago but author Peter still writes while painter Sue currently has an exhibition of her work at St George’s Hall in Bewdley.

Peter said: “Our three adult children Ben, Mike and Carrie went to school locally and now live in London, Liverpool and Manchester respectively.

“When we visit them it’s like another world. I visit family in Brighton from time to time - I come out of the railway station and immediately see both sides of the city - the poverty and the vibrancy side by side.

“It concerns us that around 5,000 people sleep rough in the UK on any given night. We hope we can talk to some genuine rough sleepers on the night of the Sleepout, as well as other people who are there like us.

“I think participating rather than just donating some money gives you a sense that you belong to society for all its faults - that you’re not on the outside looking in.”

The Big Issue he bought in Birmingham featured an article on the vendor who sold him his copy and Peter added: “His name is Karl, nicknamed Bubbles by his regulars. He has survived complicated surgery following a hit-and-run incident. But he’s a regular at Snow Hill, part of the scenery, and very cheerful.”

Sue added: “The registration fee for us to participate was £55 so we are setting that against our funding target of £350.

“We have reached £180 in donations in the last week so we hope to exceed the target. That will keep our spirits up if it rains all night - and looking on the plus side, there should be enough room to move to another part of the ground when Peter snores.”

To donate, people can visit their JustGiving page at or email