An estimated 60,000 people – including Hollywood A-listers – are taking part in a charity sleep-out as a fundraiser to end homelessness went global.

Organisers of the World’s Big Sleep Out, which began on a small scale in Edinburgh in 2016, said 52 cities are participating in this year’s event, from Brisbane to Los Angeles.

Fundraisers in London’s Trafalgar Square are being treated to a bedtime story by Dame Helen Mirren, while Will Smith will do the honours in New York’s Times Square.

Brian Cox addressed participants in Edinburgh

As well as raising funds, the event encourages people to reflect on the plight of the homeless and displaced, and this year it teamed up with Unicef and the Malala Fund.

Actor Brian Cox opened the sleep-out in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens, saying the time has come to address homelessness.

He told the PA news agency: “It has gone on long enough. We have just accepted these norms which shouldn’t be accepted.

“I remember Cardboard City in Waterloo, I used to rehearse there, at the National Theatre, I walked past there and it would be a few people sleeping out, but by the time of the end of my rehearsals it was about 250.

“It’s just accepted as a norm, and it’s worldwide – it’s an example of worldwide lack of care that we’ve allowed this situation to get out of hand.

“It has to be curbed, I don’t think you’ll ever get rid of it but it has to be curbed.”

Hundreds brave the cold in Edinburgh

The Dundee-born actor said of his home city: “Dundee has elements of it. The problem in Dundee has been, of course, people have been ignored for too long, and it’s the rise of addiction, drugs addiction.

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