Press releases

Press release: Devon man giving up his bed in aid of Tent for Lent appeal

John Cleverley will be bracing the winter weather and sleeping in a tent for one night every week of Lent with his dog Lula

22 February 2023

Man sitting outside in the snow next to a tent with his dog

Press release – 22 February 2023

A man from Bovey Tracey is giving up his bed during Lent to raise money for the international disaster relief charity ShelterBox. John Cleverley, 49, will be bracing the Devon winter weather and sleeping in a tent for one night every week of Lent to help raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox.

The charity’s Tent for Lent appeal encourages people to give up something during Lent, donating what they raise or save to help fund the charity’s work supporting displaced people across the world. ShelterBox currently has an emergency response team in Gaziantep getting crucial aid – like tents, thermal blankets, mattresses, and winter coats – to people affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

John says: “Tent for Lent is a great way to do something positive when many of us feel helpless seeing disasters such as the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria unfold.

“When I heard about Tent for Lent from ShelterBox, it piqued my interest. I was inspired by the idea that I could provide tents and tarpaulins, whilst taking on a challenge and getting close to nature in my tent.”

The father-of-two is well-prepared for the challenge having camped out on Dartmoor last month in the snow.

He says: “I’ll be camping out on Dartmoor once a week, whatever the weather, to raise money so that people caught up in disasters can get the shelter they need.

“It may be snowing, hailing, blowing a gale or calm and sunny when I head out. The challenge is to take it on the chin and camp (safely!) on the moor for the night with my dog, Lula.

“Having lived in Uganda and worked with people living in very simple dwellings made from old plastic sheeting and mud, I’ve seen how important shelter is to the wellbeing of families.

“Having a safe space to call home is vital, so supporting ShelterBox to enable families to receive shelter made a lot of sense to me. Plus, I grew up in Cornwall and I’m keen to support a Cornish based charity!”

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter to displaced families and communities around the world, as well as essential items such as solar lights, blankets, mosquito nets, and water filters.

As well as Türkiye and Syria, the charity is currently helping people displaced by monsoon flooding in Pakistan, drought in East Africa, a tropical storm in the Philippines, and conflict in places like Ukraine, Yemen, and Burkina Faso. It’s also supporting people who have had to leave their homes in Cameroon, and Mozambique.

John, who works for ShelterBox providing a vital link between the charity and Rotary GBI, hopes to raise £350 with his challenge – enough for ShelterBox to be able to provide a tent for people affected by disasters.

Community Fundraising Officer for ShelterBox, Evie Bond says: “Camping out may sound like fun, but during February and March we know conditions can be challenging.

“We’re thrilled that John has pledged his time and support for our Tent for Lent appeal, raising crucial funds that will help us support displaced people around the world.

“Every year more than 100 million people have to leave behind their homes because of conflict or disaster and we want to do everything we can to make sure people have shelter in their time of need. People like John are helping us do that.”

Dozens of pledges have already been made for the appeal, with individuals and community groups planning to give up take-away coffees and social media.

  • £30 could provide a family with a sleeping mat and thermal blankets
  • £60 could provide a family with a water filter giving them access to clean drinking water
  • £350 could provide a family with a tent, a space for a family to call home. A perfect target for a group challenge.

For more ideas on how to support Tent for Lent this year, people can visit


For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].

Notes to Editors

  • Photographs and captions included. More images available on request.
  • Interviews available on request.
  • YouTube video of Kate Bottley talking about the campaign.
  • While ShelterBox isn’t a religious organisation, faith groups have always played a vital and   valued role in raising support and awareness of our work in the community.

About ShelterBox

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items to families who have lost their homes to disasters. With operational headquarters in Cornwall, the charity also has 14 affiliate organisations worldwide.

The charity has been Rotary International’s project partner in disaster relief since 2012. ShelterBox has supported more than 2.5 million people since it was founded in 2000.