A crowdfunding campaign is aiming to give homeless people in Windsor the royal treatment on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding day.
The IncWedible drive is hoping to raise £30,000 to put together a street party for homeless people from all around the UK on May 13 – just yards away from the Windsor Castle ceremony.
The move comes following Windsor council leader Simon Dudley’s calls for rough sleepers to be shifted from the city while the royals tie the knot.
After branding homelessness “voluntary”, Dudley’s comments incited a backlash and he has refused to back down, apologising only for the “clarity of his communication” and insisting that he was calling for a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, not rough sleepers.
But IncWedible organiser David Coplowe has opted for a different approach with the planned street party after being “shocked” by the comments.
David, 27, told The Big Issue: “I was shocked that someone would treat other human beings in this way.
“I thought that I have to do something about this – I haven’t done any fundraising or charity stuff since I was at school but this is a bit of a new year’s resolution now and when I do things it tends to be go big or don’t bother.
“People have responded really well to the campaign and have been quite interested in it. I think that what they like is that it is doing something that is not against the royals – good luck to Harry and Meghan.
“I wanted to stick with the idea of bringing homeless people into Windsor but thought we could do better than that and put on an all-inclusive event of our own.
There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
“Not only would it help raise awareness of the rise in homelessness in the UK but also offer a change from their regular routine.
“After all, this is a celebration for the whole of the UK and anyone who wants to take part should be able to. It is all about inclusivity.”
The campaign has currently raised £729, at the time of publishing, but David has his eyes on securing £30,000 to fund the party while any leftover cash will be donated to homeless charities in Windsor and Oxford as well as a national body.
The money will fund food and a big screen to watch the ceremony – as well as the FA Cup Final, which is on the same day – and travel for guests from elsewhere in the country.
Campaign organiser David is also consulting charities in a bid to put together a “guest list” of homeless people from Windsor and all around the UK.
“I am working with local charities because I don’t want this to be a small thing,” he said, who is in the final year of a PhD at Oxford University reading experimental particle physics. “I want there to be plenty of food and a big screen where people can watch the wedding and the football too.
“I have to establish a guest list but I am trying to get as many homeless people from across the UK to the party and it is not just rough sleepers but people living in temporary accommodation and other types of homelessness too.
“It is going to be a big party and I want to make sure that everyone is invited.”
David’s Crowdfunder campaign can be supported here. But he is not the only one campaigning to raise awareness of homelessness surrounding the royal wedding – The Big Issue has asked Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to feature their photos from the big day in the magazine.