Former Langtoun Lad sleeps under the stars and rubs shoulders with the stars

Ritchie with Sir Bob Geldof.
Ritchie with Sir Bob Geldof.

A former Langtoun Lad has collected an incredible £7100 for a homeless project after taking part in a ‘Sleep in The Park’ fundraiser.

Ritchie Wilson, who was the Langtoun Lad in Kirkcaldy in 1970/71, had hoped to collect at least £1000 for Social Bites by participating in the event which took place last month in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh.

Ritchie Wilson with John Cleese.

Ritchie Wilson with John Cleese.

But he was named as one of the top 10 individual fundraisers after surpassing all expectations to break the £7k barrier.

Ritchie (66), who lives in Glenrothes, was persuaded by his wife Lora (65) to sleep rough with 8000 volunteers on December 9.

He said: ‘‘On my way to Edinburgh on the day I received a text to say I was one of the top 10 individual fundraisers.

‘‘This amazing amount qualified me to have an individual meeting with Bob Geldof, John Cleese and the Social Bite CEO, Josh Littlejohn, which was amazing.

“I set up my sleeping area in the open air alongside thousands of others and went to the stage to watch the performers.

‘‘We then bedded down on a frosty cold night, it was -6. I woke at 5.30am having had a few hours sleep and found my survival bag frozen solid. But the real stars of the evening were the homeless who have turned their lives around with help from Social Bites and now work as ambassadors for eradicating homelessness.’’

Thanking Lora, friends and family for their support, he added: ‘‘The whole experience has changed me – we are leading by example, hopefully for others to follow.’’