BUSINESS leaders from across Darlington are hoping to raise more than £20,000 for charity after successfully surviving a freezing night in a rugby stadium.

The hardy bunch of 30 bosses took part in the town's first-ever CEO Sleepout event at Mowden Park Rugby Club, with donations being divided between the CEO Sleepout charity, Changing Lives and Firststop.

CEO Sleepout organiser Bianca Robinson said: “The Darlington business community really took to the Sleepout and showed what a caring business community the town has.

“Although the number of rough sleepers in Darlington is relatively low, homelessness is still a big issue with sofa surfing and exploitation of those with nowhere to live.

“Our amazing charity partners First Stop and Changing Lives work hard supporting vulnerable people and those living chaotic lives in Darlington.

“Our participants really got behind this, and toughed it out pitch-side, waking up in freezing fog. The temperature dropped to zero during the night, but it really was worth it.

“I'd like to say a huge thank you to all who took part and to those generous individuals who sponsored them.”

ResQ Limited CEO Nic Marshall was one of the participants in the Darlington sleepout and said the whole experience “really opened my eyes to the suffering that homeless people have to go through – I can’t think of any other word for it."

And the annual Teesside CEO Sleepout is now set to go ahead on Monday, November 12, with more than 60 leading members of Middlesbrough and Stockton’s business communities poised to brave the elements for the charitable cause.

With support from Stockton Council, the outdoor Victorian Street within Preston Park Museum will play host to the event and it organisers promise it will make a lasting impact on all participants.

Two previous events on the Victorian Street have raised a combined £75,000.

Ms Robinson is encouraging as many business leaders to get involved as possible.

She said: “We’re aware that many local businesspeople have already taken part in a CEO Sleepout event, which is now a much anticipated fixture on the Teesside business calendar.

“This time we’re asking them to join us again and make it even more fun by bringing along their business team for this special challenge.

To register for the next event visit