A St Albans schoolboy who has been sleeping in a tent in his back garden to raise money for abandoned rescue dogs will hit the milestone of 1,000 nights on Christmas Eve.
Ashley Owens, 14, has been sleeping outside since he was 11 years old. So far, he has raised more than £29,000 for Paws2Rescue, which works to rescue abandoned dogs and pets across the world, with a special interest in Romania.
Through flurries of snow, heatwaves and temperatures as low as minus seven degrees, Ashley has carried on non-stop, even persevering when his old tent collapsed under the weight of a blanket of snow. When anxious, he is often joined by his two loyal pooches, springer spaniel Bertie and rescue dog Lucia.
Ashley said: “Whilst there are still dogs being badly treated and sleeping on the streets, I will continue to sleep in my tent.”
Ashley was recently left speechless when he received a letter from notable animal lover Her Royal Highness Queen Camilla.
She wrote: “I am full of admiration for your determination to do everything to rescue these poor animals. You are making an incredible difference to dogs across the world.”
Ashley’s mother Emma said: “We are very proud of what Ashley has achieved. His determination to keep going has inspired all his family.
“Although they enjoy sleeping in a tent together, it’s also hard when it’s really cold or Ashley doesn’t feel well. Every night, we leave our bedroom window open at night so that we can listen out for him.”
You can donate to Ashley’s fundraising here.