Youngsters' night of fun for charity

THERE wasn't much sleep going on but that didn't stop scores of children from across Suffolk enjoying a Giant Sleepover to break a world record.

Naomi Cassidy

THERE wasn't much sleep going on but that didn't stop scores of children from across Suffolk enjoying a Giant Sleepover to break a world record.

Several guiding groups took part in the nationwide challenge in aid of Save The Children Fund over the weekend, which aimed to break the record for the biggest simultaneous sleepover at various places throughout the UK.

The 20 girls of the 4th Walton Brownies at Felixstowe were in bed by midnight after a packed evening of activities.

Brownie guider Christine Gage and her assistant Sheila Battle were helped by the girls to cook tea after they arrived at the Salvation Community Hall, Cobbold Road, Felixstowe, on Saturday night.

They then led the girls in a series of games, a singsong and activities, mostly based on the work of the Save the Children Fund overseas.

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On the Sunday morning they all took part to try and break the Guinness Book of Records challenge for the most people brushing their teeth at once, before spending some time on the beach and then going back to the Salvation Army to take part in their morning service.

Mrs Gage added: “They all seemed to have a lovely time and said they really enjoyed it. We have had a dramatic increase in our numbers this year and some of the girls had not had a night away from home before so it was good to give them that opportunity ahead of other activities.”

There were 65 Brownies and Guides, aged between seven and 12, from the Westgate District who also took part in the event. They slept in the nursery department at Ipswich Prep School, Ivry Street.

After arriving at the school at 6pm, they then had a picnic in Christchurch Park and played on the play equipment before returning to the school to enjoy some singing around a campfire before bed.

Gail Kerrison, district commissioner for Westgate District Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section, said: “The girls lay on the floor in the hall with their sleeping bags and all the leaders slept in the corridors.

“It went really well. There wasn't much sleeping done but they all enjoyed it. They all got to sleep by about 1.45am and woke up at 5.45am. There were lots of tired faces the next day.”

Brownies and guides also took part at the sleepover in Gainsborough Library in Clapgate Lane, Ipswich.

And in south Suffolk, the Cubs also got in on the act.

The 1st Samford Valley Cub Pack stayed at The Pin Mill Studio on Saturday night as part of the sleepover.

They played on Pin Mill common and made a makeshift shelter in the studio, raising awareness for the Burmese disaster.

The world record was broken but the exact figures are still being counted.

- Have you done something different to raise money or awareness for a charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Fast facts: Giant sleepover

- All children had to have their lights out for at least five hours and not sleep in their own beds for the sleepover

- There was an estimated 40,000 children taking part

- Sleepovers took place at all sorts of weird and wonderful venues across the country including London Dungeon, Warwick Castle and Lord's Cricket ground, London.

- Those taking part ranged from five to 16 years old.

- Save The Children, the world's largest independent children's charity, provides aid to children in need across the world and also responds quickly in an emergency to save lives and help families cope after a disaster.