IT directors plan a night sleeping rough to help young homeless

David Blaine stayed suspended uncomfortably above the Thames for 40 days near Tower Bridge in London. Computer Weekly would not...

David Blaine stayed suspended uncomfortably above the Thames for 40 days near Tower Bridge in London. Computer Weekly would not go that far, but we do invite our readers to experience a little bit of discomfort with us near the same spot for charity on the night of Friday 17 September.

Byte Night, now in its seventh year, gets IT directors to spend a night on the streets to raise money for charity NCH. To date, the event has raised more than £1m to aid the charity's work with young homeless people.

The brainchild of Ken Deeks, director of PR consultancy Kaizo, the event has involved several hundred people since its inception in 1998.

Last year the e-envoy Andrew Pinder was there all night, as was David Burden, CIO of the Royal Mail. The previous year IT minister Stephen Timms roughed it in his sleeping bag alongside IT industry leaders - including the entire UK board of Cisco Systems.

"You might imagine the directors were a bit cynical about the whole thing," said Phil Smith, Cisco's director of business development. "However, as soon as they got there and saw the young people and heard their stories they were hooked. A great fun and powerful evening."

In previous years Byte Night has been held in Finsbury Square, but with more than 160 IT executives taking part, the event outgrew the venue. As a result, this year Byte Night is taking place at Potters Field, between City Hall and Tower Bridge - and Computer Weekly is encouraging even more IT users to get involved.

Byte Night was the first of a series of IT industry charitable initiatives involving IT users and suppliers which are helping to break down traditional barriers between the two groups and, at the same time, lend a helping hand where it is needed.

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Big names back Byte Night

Computer Weekly has backed Byte Night from the start, and managing editor John Riley is on the Byte Night strategy board. Other members include:

Chris Burke, CIO, Vodafone

Duncan Mitchell, managing director UK and Ireland, Cisco Systems

Geoff Lloyd, vice-president, Nortel Networks

Joanna Brace, marketing director, Unisys

Michael Avis, marketing director, Sun Microsystems

Mike Short, vice-president, O2

Paul Barlow, managing director, Equanet

Peter Gardner, global head of communications 3i

Richard Banks, director, Computer Futures

Rod Banner, chief executive, Banner

Tina Green, head of government and public affairs, Hewlett-Packard

Tom Bureau, managing director, CNet Network

Vance Keaney, vice-president, Oracle.

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