Bus driver at Peterborough operator “sleeps out” to help heroes

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A bus driver at Peterborough’s largest bus operator has slept under the stars for a night in a bid to raise much needed funds to help military veterans who have been forced to sleep rough.

Robert Cook, himself a former Service Veteran with the Coldstream Guards and a Driver at Stagecoach East, took on the challenge to raise money and awareness of the fact that an estimated 6,000 veterans are experiencing homelessness in the UK right now.

Robert did the challenge with friend and Service Veteran Rowland Willmore Cole. Individually Robert has now raised over £1,100 and together the pair have raised over £1,600 – and donations are still coming in.

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Robert said: “I am so proud to do my bit to help people who have given their all to serve and protect our country, and who are now facing the consequences of that decision. Nobody would suggest that sleeping out for one night was comparable to being homeless, but I hope our effort will raise awareness of this crucial issue. It is easy to become disillusioned and think that nothing can be done to help veterans, but we can all do our bit, so it is good to make a positive step to help out.”

Robert Cook and Rowland Willmore ColeRobert Cook and Rowland Willmore Cole
Robert Cook and Rowland Willmore Cole

The Great Tommy Sleep Out campaign is run throughout March by the Royal British Legion Industries, a national charity. Since 1919 they have provided accommodation, welfare and employment support to injured veterans and people with disabilities. So far, the Sleep Out campaign has raised over £750,000 this year.

Veterans are supported at Stagecoach by the employee-led Veterans Network. The network was launched to allow Stagecoach colleagues to come together as one voice to make change, raise awareness, help influence business decisions and introduce new ways of working to make the company even stronger.

Stagecoach has also been a member of the Armed Forces Covenant since March 2015. Recently, the operator was awarded Silver by the Armed Forces covenant for its commitment to the community. The Covenant recognises the value of serving personnel, regular and reservists, veterans and military families to both the country and businesses across the country.

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Darren Roe, Managing Director of Stagecoach East, added: “We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who put themselves forward to defend our freedoms and way of living, and so we are very proud of Robert for taking on this challenge and hope that significant funds that are being raised will help the vital work done by Royal British Legion Industries.”

You can still donate to Robert’s effort to support Military Veterans. Please go to his campaign page.