A GROUP of intrepid fundraisers defied bitter conditions and took to the seafront for a sponsored night walk - raising over £1,000 to help the homeless.

Some 40 walkers wrapped up warm for the challenge on Saturday night to raise money for Off the Fence, a Christian charity aiming to put an end to “social and spiritual poverty” in the Brighton and Hove.

The walkers racked up close to five miles along the promenade, while faced with blustering winds and hail.

Publicist and fundraiser Stephanie Allen, 26, from Shoreham, said: “It was so cold and wet that before we started the walk it felt like the last thing in the world any of us wanted to be doing.

“But in a way, the bad weather made the walk even more meaningful.

“I feel proud to have taken part and raised funds to help those most in need in our local community.

“I would do it all over again in a flash.”

The walkers made their way from the Big Beach Café by Hove Lagoon to the West Pier and back to the café.

The event started at 7.30pm and all the participants were finished by 9.15pm.

All the money raised will go to the charity, which provides support to the homeless, women in crisis and young people across schools and colleges in the area.

Hannah Lyon, fundraising manager at Off The Fence, said: “It was incredible to have a turnout of 40 walkers all braving the wind, cold and – as they found half way through – rain, when they could easily have had a comfortable evening in a warm home.

“It felt like everyone truly experienced just a glimpse of what so many sleeping on the streets have to endure daily, throughout the winter months.

“We were delighted that the walk encouraged people from lots of different areas, representing the city and the need for everyone to come together to help combat issues of social poverty.

“A huge thank you to each person who walked with us.”

The charity has been operating for 20 years, originally starting out with just two team members, Paul and Wendy Young, who met on a missionary trip off the coast of Africa in 1985.

Last year, 17 people died on the streets of the city, which is ranked second in the UK only to London, when it comes to the number of rough sleepers battling tough conditions outside.

The number of those living on the street in Brighton last autumn was up almost a quarter on the previous year.

Government figures revealed there were 178 rough sleepers here between October 1 and November 30 last year.