ROTARIANS slept out with the mayor, bishop of Colchester, a Parliamentary candidate and business bosses to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

The Forum Rotary Club of Colchester organised the sleepout in the grounds of Castle Park with each participant challenged to raise £500 each.

More than 20 people took part including mayor Julie Young, the Rev Roger Morris and Will Quince who helped raise £11,000 which will be split between Beacon House and the Colchester Samaritans.

Participants slept in a range of shelters and Tony Dutch, the club's community service chairman said he was delighted with the amount raised.

He said: "We were fortunate it did not rain or we would have been left with a lot of soggy cupboard, but it was a fairly cold night and fortunately we were kept supplied with hot drinks.

"We have already received some very good feedback from the participants and thank all those involved for what turned out to be an enjoyable event.

"Everyone mixed very well and there was some very interesting discussions about homelessness and what could be done to help people.

"We really wanted to help out local charities because rotary is all about helping communities both at home and abroad."