FORMER homeless man Darren Armstrong returned to the streets and raised £10,000 from a sponsored sleepout.

He was joined by former Wanderers stars John McGinlay and Tony Kelly, Carr’s Pasties boss Liam Carr and around 40 volunteers.

Mr Armstrong chose last Thursday for the event because that was his 40th birthday.

He was homeless for two years from the age of just 14 but after a long battle with drugs and run-ins with the law, he founded the Be Strong Project aimed at helping people struggling with the same issues that he fought.

“We raised a lot of extra money from on-the-night donations and from a Q and A session with John and Tony,” he said.

“Weather-wise, it was absolutely freezing. There was ice on the sleeping bags.

“It was the first time I’d spent a night on the streets without using drugs and alcohol to blot out the cold and the misery, so it was quite surreal.”

During the night, Mr Armstrong and the other volunteers sought out rough sleepers and gave them food and spent time speaking with them.

The money raised will be used to directly tackle homelessness across Bolton by creating a ‘sanctuary’ - a safe place in which people will be able to eat healthily, sleep, shower and get a change of clothes.

The project got an extra boost on the night when when Matthew Hogg of Wigan’s Alpha Motors kindly decided to let Mr Armstrong have a van worth £3,000 for just one pence.

“Everyone has been tremendously generous and I’m very grateful,” said Mr Armstrong.