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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 21 October, 2018

Sir Bob Geldof among 8,000 who slept out in freezing Edinburgh to raise money for homelessness

Organisers say it’s the biggest event of its kind globally.

CELEBRITIES JOINED, AND entertained, thousands of fundraisers for the homeless sleeping rough in a Scottish park in frigid conditions overnight, in what organisers described as the biggest event of its kind globally.

Around 8,000 people gathered in Princes Street Gardens in central Edinburgh to hear the likes of singer-songwriters Liam Gallagher and Amy MacDonald, and bands Deacon Blue and Frightened Rabbit, “busk” for the cause.

Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, Monty Python comic John Cleese, Olympian Chris Hoy, comedian Rob Brydon and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were also among the well-known faces helping to keep participants fed and entertained through the night.

Geldof, who recalled sleeping rough in London when he first arrived in the city decades ago, hailed the turnout “magnificent” and said it was more than just a gesture.

They’re also sleeping out in disgust at something so criminal in one of the richest countries in the world.

The event was organised by charity Social Bite, which has become a magnet for celebrity support in recent years.

Actors George Clooney and Leonardo Di Caprio have visited their Scottish restaurants, which are staffed in large part by people who have struggled with homelessness.

Geldof called it “a cafe where you get your dignity back”.

Sleep in the Park People take part in the Sleep in the Park in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, to tackle homelessness. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “We’ve been really fortunate to get some high profile visitors.

That really put the spotlight on our organisation, and really gave us a platform to do things like this, to really push things as far as we can, to make an impact and raise awareness about homelessness.

“Everybody attending has raised money – some of them lots and lots of money – so hopefully the event will raise between €3-4 million for homelessness, as well as putting it at the top of the political agenda.”

© AFP 2017

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