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Not going potty: Veterans spending five days in portable toilets for charity

·2-min read

Four veterans who say their lives were saved by a support charity are spending 120 hours in portable toilet cabins to raise money for the service.

Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett, Gary Sprakes and Chris Nicholls have set up looking out to the Solent from Southsea Common in Portsmouth for the five-day challenge in aid of Forgotten Veterans UK.

Mr Sprakes, a former submariner from Waterlooville, told the PA news agency: “The charity saved my life. I tried to commit suicide four times – my dog and this charity are the reasons I am here today.”

Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett, Gary Sprakes and Chris Nicholls
Ian Baillie, Mike Hewlett, Gary Sprakes and Chris Nicholls (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The 70-year-old, who now works for the charity, said of the challenge: “We are a team, we have the mindset that this is what we have set out to do and we are going to finish it together.”

Mr Baillie, 55, from Liverpool, a former private in the Royal Corps of Signals and Royal Anglian regiments, said: “It’s been tough. It’s not so bad in the day when people are talking to us, but at night there’s no room, it’s uncomfortable and you’re lucky to get two hours’ sleep.”

He added jokingly: “The worst thing is the neighbours.”

Mr Nicholls, 58, a former Army corporal from Portsmouth, said: “Trying to sleep in here is a challenge but we have raised a lot of money and the public have been amazing.”

Mr Hewlett, 55, a former rifleman with the Royal Green Jackets, said: “It’s difficult to sleep in the loos, you can hear each moving about, and on the first night I could hear someone shout out, ‘Whose stupid idea was this?’

“But the loos are new so there’s no smell – luckily they didn’t get them from the Isle of Wight Festival.”

Gary Weaving poses with the four veterans
Gary Weaving poses with the four veterans (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Charity founder Gary Weaving said: “Every one of those guys who are in those loos came to me in their time of crisis and it’s incredible what they are doing.

“It’s not just about the money, it’s about working as a team with our support staff and engagement with the public.”

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