Not many people would willingly sleep in sub-zero temperatures when they had a cosy home just yards away, but little Cody McManus braved last week’s arctic chill overnight – all in the name of charity.
The nine-year-old was inspired to sleep out in his hand-built igloo in the back garden on Friday after watching Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn on TV talk about the plight of the homeless during the Beast from the East’s severe weather.
Armed with a bag full of biscuits and bananas to fortify him, Cody layered up in pyjamas, jogging bottoms, thermals and his sisters’ welly socks to sleep solo in his icy den.
His feet were so well insulated he had to borrow his mum’s wellies to get out to the garden.
As the Duddingston Primary School pupil slept, mum Denise, 45, stood on guard by the patio doors to make sure he was fine before finally waking him at 7am so she could get to bed.
“He was desperate to get out there”, she said. “He was adamant that he was going to help. He said if the homeless were sleeping outside, then he was going to as well.”
When the plan was hatched that Cody would make use of the igloo he had started to build on his first day off from school, the snow structure was lined with plastic sheeting before an old carpet and a mattress were placed on top. Cody swaddled himself in a sleeping bag before bunking down for the night.
He may have slept soundly but it was a different story for his mum whose main worry was that he would freeze to death and that foxes might find their way to his secret stash of food, or even that the igloo roof would fall in.
Cody is no stranger to raising money for people less fortunate than himself. Last year the schoolboy cycled 36 miles with dad Neil, 46, to raise nearly £4000 to buy new bikes for local kids and in 2016 his fundraising efforts saw him fill a boxing ring with donated toys for children living in poverty at Christmas.
His charitable works have earned him a British Citizen Youth Award medal and a Best Young Fundraiser award as well as the Evening News Child of Achievement award.
Denise is not sure where he gets his generosity of spirit from but is very proud of her son. “If anyone asks him why he does it, he just says ‘because I can’.
“He’s very modest and it’s all down to him. He doesn’t do it for recognition.”
After his night out in the wild, Cody, who his mum describes as “the most laid back wee boy in the world”, warmed up by settling on the couch and playing computer games for the rest of the weekend.
So far Cody has raised £1000 for Social Bite – double his hoped-for £500 target and has even had donations from as far away as America.