FREEZING temperatures, sleep deprivation and ghostly sightings could not stop a group of volunteers raising hundreds of pounds for charity.

Twenty volunteers set up camp on the parade ground at Nothe Fort in Weymouth on Friday night to attempt to sleep rough.

Roll mats, thermal vests and cups of tea abounded as volunteers bedded down at the event to raise money for Alabare Christian Care.

The charity has three houses in Weymouth – a dry house and two houses for homeless veterans.

All the money raised from the event will go towards helping to refurbish a summerhouse and turn it into a gym.

It will also go towards providing the ex-servicemen and women with items like train tickets and new shoes and clothes for job interviews.

During the night, temperatures plummeted to -3C and the volunteers woke up with ice on their sleeping bags.

There were also one or two odd sightings during the night which added to the fort’s reputation as a haunted venue.

Alabare staff John Estall and Emma Williams-Mandiville were at the sleep-out.

Mr Estall said: “We have raised £581 so far, with £280 from the Echo team, and hopefully by the time we collect all the sponsorship it will be £1,000.

“We are definitely pleased with the turn-out, it would be great to make it even bigger next year.”

Mrs Mandiville-Williams said: “I couldn’t believe how much kit we had to lug round to be comfortable for the night.

“The sleep-out is one thing but people that sleep rough don’t have their friends around them, they don’t know where the next meal is coming from and they don’t have toilets and showering facilities nearby.”

Weymouth resident Suzette Lonsdale volunteered after reading the article in the Echo.

She said: “The spooky aspect attracted me. I saw something coming out by the fort shop. It was like a shadow walking across when everyone was sleeping.”

Three Alabare staff who were on watch throughout the night also reported seeing a similar unexplained shadow.

Alabare would like to thank David Joy at Nothe Fort for allowing them to use the venue and for staying at the fort through the night.

To donate to Alabare visit the Dorset Echo Team site at