Scots deputy leader, Geldof and 8,000 more sleep out to raise £3.6m for homeless

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Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Bob Geldof joined thousands of people who slept out in freezing conditions in Edinburgh to raise money to tackle homelessness.

More than 8,000 people braved icy temperatures and spent the night in the city's Princes Street Gardens as part of "the world's biggest sleepout", with donations so far topping £3.6 million.

Stars signed up to perform at the Sleep in the Park event included Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit.

John Cleese performed a bedtime story while Geldof slept out and addressed the audience.

Mr Swinney, Communities Secretary Angela Constance and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart also spent the night in the gardens.

Event organiser Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite which helps the homeless through cafes, a restaurant and fundraising events, said he was "humbled" by the support.

He added: "Tonight was the night when people from all walks of life came together in Scotland, to stick up for the most vulnerable people among us. This is the night that we collectively gave a voice to the people who have never had one.

"There are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland. When I think about all of the amazing different people, sleeping in this garden tonight, the one thing that strikes me about these statistics of homelessness is that they are not insurmountable.

"Scotland is a small enough country, a compassionate enough country and a collaborative enough country, where nobody has to be homeless here. If we put our heads together, we can wipe out homelessness in five years."

He said the famous names lend "excitement" to the occasion but people had turned up for the cause of tackling homelessness rather than as music fans.

Fundraising is open until Christmas Eve and donations can be made at www.sleepinthepark.co.uk.