PDRL player Simon Brown pledges support for Leeds Big Sleep

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Player and Army veteran, Simon Brown, will be joining 286 volunteers taking part in the Leeds Big Sleep at Emerald Headingley Stadium this Thursday 28th November.

The event will see people leaving behind their home comforts to spend a night in their sleeping bags on the terraces at the home of Leeds Rhinos to raise money for St George’s Crypt, Leeds Rhinos Foundation and St Gemma’s Hospice.

Brown, who will join Rhinos’ Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield along with former players Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Chev Walker and staff and volunteers from all three charities, said he is proud to support the 2019 Leeds Big Sleep.

“I have two main passions – rugby league and veteran welfare so for this to combine the two is perfect and it was something I was happy to volunteer for.  Homelessness is a national issue and one which effects many veterans.  As a veteran myself I am passionate about helping those who have served our country who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

“It is great that the club can be a conduit for this and help raise awareness about the challenges people face.  It will be only one night for us to sleep outside in the cold weather, but there are people facing these conditions every night and for the volunteers taking part in the Leeds Big Sleep it will give them a small insight into what their lives are like.  We will also be in a safe environment in the stadium and that is a big difference for people who sleep on the streets as they face dangerous situations every night so I hope that the Leeds Big Sleep helps raise money and awareness so that organisations such as St George’s Crypt can help tackle homelessness.”

Brown has been part of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s PDRL team since its inception in 2017 and has spoken about how the concept has helped him get back to playing the game he loved after being shot in the face by a sniper in Iraq leaving him almost blind.

“As a PDRL player I know first hand the amazing work that Leeds Rhinos Foundation does to change lives and having the opportunity to play rugby again with them has been incredible.  St Gemma’s is another fantastic charity which supports many people in the city and they will also benefit from the event.”

The Morley born player said he may need to call on some of his 13-years’ experience in the Army as well as some of his old equipment to help him get through the night.

“I did a Winter Warrior exercise when I was in the Army and although this Arctic training will hopefully help me in some preparations it was a long time ago,” he said.  “I’m going to dust off some of my old army gear and hopefully it’s still in good condition! I’ll be happy to offer my fellow volunteers some advice – the main one is thick socks and a hat! It’s great that over 200 people will be taking part and I hope Rhinos fans can get behind us all and donate what they can.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Leeds Big Sleep CLICK HERE