WINCANTON distribution centre workers Craig Dus and Mike Wilson endured hours of bone-chilling cold in a bid to raise awareness of homelessness at Christmas.

Equipped only with a sleeping bag each and a cardboard box they stationed themselves at the entrance to warehouse from 5am to 10.30pm on Thursday as part of a stunt to raise money for Christmas Care in Swindon and Shelter.

They managed to raise almost £1,000-worth of cash and food donations. But neither was completely prepared for the test of endurance it involved.

In fact Mike said it was tougher than the 100-mile ride he took part in last year.

“I wouldn’t want to be homeless myself, that’s for certain. We have all had bad periods in our lives when people have helped us out,” said hardware manager Craig after their uncomfortable stint.

“I thought it was going to be a breeze. Being a fisherman I’m out in the elements.” But he said when he went fishing he was wrapped up against the cold in several layers of clothing.

What he discovered on Thursday was that the wind chill ripped straight through his sleeping bag.

For much of the day the pair were kept fed and watered by colleagues who supplied them with snacks, hot coffee and even a Christmas lunch.

As the end of the day drew closer they were feeling very well-fed. But between 4pm and 8pm, when the centre was at its most quiet, things got tougher.

The cold began to grind them down. Craig said it brought it home to him why homeless people sometimes seem grumpy even when they are being given something like cash or a warm drink.

“It is because they out there too long.”

Things picked up in the final couple of hours as it got busier. “Because we’re a 24/7 site we have people visiting all the time,” he explained.

He praised colleagues for their support. “Everybody in the distribution centre helped out,” he said.

The centre has a tradition of raising money for good causes and tries to help a variety of charities. Last year it handed over £10,000 to mental health charity Young Minds. It also helped Christmas Care.

“I wanted to do it a bit better this year, I wanted to do it a little bit different,” said Craig.

And with the help of all the staff, they did. An online crowdfunding page brought in more than £433, there was over £291 in cash donations as well as supplies of food, taking the total value to £929.

Shelter helps people struggling with homelessness or bad housing while Christmas Care offers a temporary shelter, food and company over the festive period at Buckhurst Park community centre. It opens its doors to guests at 11am on Christmas Eve and runs until the morning of December 28.