A direct descendant of socialist revolutionary Karl Marx has been spending the week sleeping rough on Kingston’s streets to raise awareness of homelessness.

Surrey Comet:

The group insisted the hardest things about the week had been boredom and lack of sleep

Joseph Marx, 20, of Park Road, Kingston, along with friends Joe Alvey-Taylor, 17, from Sunbury and Will Fraser-Coombe, 19, from Staines started their cold week on the streets last Friday armed with just sleeping bags, a change of clothes each and a skate board.

The teenagers became friends through their shared interest in free running, the art of acrobatically jumping around urban environments, and have been doing “back flips for money” to buy food.

Mr Marx, who teaches gymnastics, said: “The public reaction to us hasn’t been too bad. Some people do look at us with absolute disgust. One guy put his hands up because I think he thought we were going to rob him when we walked into him one night.

“We have been begging and doing back flips to help raise money for food.”

Mr Fraser-Coombe added: “One kid really wanted to give me some money when I was begging. He must’ve been about five. His mum stopped him. That was pretty hard.”

The group say they have been living on reduced-price bread and cheese and eating cubes of jelly for energy. They have made about £30 to £40 a day between them from begging.

Mr Alvey-Taylor said: “We have been hanging around the reduced section in the supermarket a lot and rationing food because we don’t know where our next meal is coming from.”

Despite the cold and lack food, the group insisted the hardest things about the week had been boredom and lack of sleep.

Mr Marx said: “We haven’t been getting more than five hours sleep on any night. The first night was the hardest. It was so cold and we got chucked out of the stairwell at the Premier Inn. We didn’t get more than half an hour that night. The thing I’m most looking forward to when we stop this is watching TV.”

Mr Marx says he flirted with his great-great-grandfather’s socialist ideals, but ultimately decided that they did not work in practice. Kingston’s McDonald’s has been the group’s base.

Mr Fraser-Coombe said: “We haven’t been moved on by the police once and have spent a lot of time in McDonald’s.” The group has set up a go fund me page to raise money for the homeless.

To donate visit gofundme.com/4c2ta5v4c.