Simon Ellis from Pewsey is camping out in his garden for 28 days – a lockdown campout – to raise money for Wiltshire Search and Rescue. He’s braving the frosts, winds and rain as a way of thanking the volunteer team for their continued service to the community, as they support Wiltshire Police and the emergency services with searching for vulnerable missing people.

His camping idea came because of his love of the outdoors, having been on many expeditions and adventures around the world. He’s therefore no stranger to sleeping uncomfortably, but at the age of 54 he admits that the first two nights were quite chilly, adding, “Sleeping in a tent for a night or two is fine but spending the whole of lockdown in the garden of my house is more of a challenge. Even the dog has deserted me, preferring the warm log-burner in the house to a night under canvas! Luckily I have a good tent and a decent sleeping bag.”

Simon hopes to raise much-needed money for the charity, who has seen their opportunities to fundraise slashed as a result of COVID-19, despite being busier than ever. He also feels it’s important to do something positive during lockdown but obviously wanted to make sure that any challenge complied with the current lockdown regulations, saying, “Sleeping out in the cold makes me think about the more vulnerable in society, those who might be feeling isolated or alone, which seemed fitting when raising money for Wiltshire Search and Rescue, an organisation who exist to help those in critical need.”
Adrian Sawyer, Chair, said, “We’re currently having our busiest year on record, being called out to help Wiltshire Police dozens of times in the same month. We’ve also been commended by the other emergency services for our help and support in transporting critical healthcare personnel during bad weather and to rural locations, and for our work at Great Western Hospital at the height of the pandemic portering and supporting healthcare professionals. But even though we’re being called on more and more, we have not been able to do our normal awareness raising activities so our fundraising abilities have dropped enormously. People like Simon, who are putting themselves out to help us, are quite amazing and we really thank him for his efforts.”

It is hoped that money raised by Simon can be used for essential kit for the volunteer team such as lighting, medical supplies and radios.

His fundraising page can be found here