‘Amazing’ humanitarian response of Yorkshire public

Hatti Sambrooks and Vicky Hill from Sheffield, who are collected supplies to take to Calais.''Picture Scott Merrylees SM1009/32b
Hatti Sambrooks and Vicky Hill from Sheffield, who are collected supplies to take to Calais.''Picture Scott Merrylees SM1009/32b
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WHETHER it’s a child emptying the contents of his money box, or the family donating a tent to send to Calais, the British public are coming out in force to help the plight of refugees.

And that generosity is nowhere more evident than here in Yorkshire.

In Sheffield, Vicky Hill and Hatti Sambrooks are just one example of how people are responding to the crisis.

They have hired a van and will drive it to Calais stuffed with tents, clothes, shoes and supplies - all donated after an appeal on social media.

The response to a Facebook plea for donations has been so “amazing” the pair will now be joined by a second van, who will drive in convoy to a distribution point in the migrant camp later this month.

Miss Hill, 37, said: “At one point, I was struggling to get momentum, I’d hired this van and had nothing to put in it, but the response in the last 48 hours alone has been phenomenal. Seeing the most recent pictures seems to have been a tipping point.

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“People are starting to realise that this issue is not about immigration - it’s about a humanitarian crisis. We can help with the immediate problem, but politicians need to solve this long term.”

The pair will be taking “priority gear” such as tents, men’s clothing, socks and camping gear, while other items, such as women’s clothes and children’s toy, are being collected at Theatre Deli, on the Moor, by group Solidarity Action From Sheffield.

Around 3-4,000 migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa are currently camped near the French port, with many risking their lives to trying to reach Britain through the Eurotunnel, or stowing away in lorries.

Liam Seward, from the group, was in Calais on Monday donating a Land Rover packed full of toiletries, tools, clothing, shoes and food bought with donations from Sheffield residents.

He said: “At the distribution centre in Calais there were queues of people needing help. The weather was awful and the camp was flooded, but many were barefoot or wearing sandals.

“They were given walking boots and coats - it was making a huge difference.”

Earlier this week 80 volunteers helped Leeds campaign group Leeds No Borders collected vast amounts of camping gear, tents and other items left behind at Bramham Park by revellers at Leeds Festival.

Speaking as she made her way to Calais today, Emily Jennings from the group said three vans full of goods were on route to the camp, and another trip was planned for later in the week.

“The response from the people of Leeds has been amazing,” she said. “We had a human chain of 30 people loading the vans this morning, and many more dropping off donations from churches, mosques and community groups.”

Across the country charities have seen spikes in donations over the past week.

And Britons living abroad are doing their bit to provide aid and relief to refugees, who are also living in camps in Hungary.

Hundreds of migrants protested for a second day in front of Budapest’s Keleti Railway Terminus yesterday, after they were blocked by police from boarding trains bound for Germany.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban has blamed Germany for the crisis in his country, and plans to send 3.500 troops to its border with Serbia to step up efforts to keep migrants out.

In Munich, Germany, Louis Harkell, 29, a business journalist originally from London but living in the city, has been providing water, bread and nappies to families arriving from Hungary.

Speaking from Munich, he said: “It was a big effort, it was quite impressive and quite moving as well, so that’s why I decided to do something to help out myself.”