Tragic pictures spur communities into action to deliver aid to refugee camps

Nick Swann, Anji James, Emma Wilkinson and Nick Pitman at the Rhino  Gym at Stamford - collecting for euro refugees crisis EMN-150909-223513009
Nick Swann, Anji James, Emma Wilkinson and Nick Pitman at the Rhino Gym at Stamford - collecting for euro refugees crisis EMN-150909-223513009
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The image of the dead body of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach stirred emotions in most who saw it.

Aylan’s family are among thousands of refugees trying to flee the war-torn country and find safety in Europe.

Political leaders have this week issued responses to what has become known as the refugee crisis, and many people in the Mercury area have been so affected by the tragic pictures and stories that they decided they had to help.

Nick Pitman and Emma Wilkinson, from Stamford, and Anji James, from Peterborough, set up Facebook groups called Stamford Kind and Peterborough Kind. They are collecting clothing and equipment to take to the refugee camps in Calais in a few weeks, and also raising money to pay for the trip.

Nick said: “You’ve got to be pretty cold not to be affected by what’s going on.

“We have a very good life in the UK, so why not do something?”

Lisa Hughes and Dorothy Harris collect clothes and camping equipment at St Guthlac's Church in Market Deeping to take to refugees in Calais. Photo: David Pearson. EMN-150709-155213001

Lisa Hughes and Dorothy Harris collect clothes and camping equipment at St Guthlac's Church in Market Deeping to take to refugees in Calais. Photo: David Pearson. EMN-150709-155213001

Several places have already agreed to act as donation points, including Rhino’s Gymnasium, The Yard nursery and the Danish Invader in Stamford, and Who Dares Inks tattoo parlour in Peterborough. An Amazon wishlist has also been set up.

In the Deepings a group of church parishioners have organised their own collection points and hope to take supplies to Calais on Monday. Collection points are at St Guthlac’s Church in Market Deeping and Priory Church in Deeping St James, but the real need is for volunteers to help sort and pack all the items.

Deeping St James parish councillor Lisa Hughes, who helped organise the appeal, said: “What’s going on is heartbreaking. Each one of these people has a name, a family and a history and they are being treated as objects; as a problem and a statistic.”

If you can help, call Lisa on 07725 978445.

John Condron, from Oakham, with the Tim Norton Motors van he will take to Calais to donate clothing and camping equipment to refugees.''Photo: Alan Walters MSMP-09-09-15-aw001 EMN-150909-134752001

John Condron, from Oakham, with the Tim Norton Motors van he will take to Calais to donate clothing and camping equipment to refugees.''Photo: Alan Walters MSMP-09-09-15-aw001 EMN-150909-134752001

In Oakham, ecologist John Condron will take a van donated by Tim Norton Motors to Calais on September 30. He has set up a website, www.calaismigrantrelief.com, explaining his mission and giving a list of what is required, including men’s clothing and camping equipment.

“It’s hard not to be affected by what’s been published. We have young kids. When you see images like that it’s quite depressing.”

And a fundraising gig will be held at the Voodoo Lounge in Stamford from 8pm tomorrow, featuring Bear Trade, Spoilers, Larrakia and A Great Notion Clothing and camping equipment will be collected at the gig and passed on to the Green Backyard in Peterborough for distribution.

Visit www.facebook.com/events/928734130523790/ for more information.

Bear Trade. EMN-151009-091625001

Bear Trade. EMN-151009-091625001