Campaign co-founder ‘humbled’ by volume of coat donations to Syrian appeal

  • Around 5,000 equestrian and country coats have now been collected as part of a campaign to help displaced Syrians.

    Country Coats 2 Syria, founded by Richard Walton and H&H hunting correspondent George Bowyer, has been collecting warm coats to ship to Syrians in need.

    “That is 5,000 individuals who stand a better chance of surviving this winter,” Richard told H&H.

    “I am humbled by the generosity of people.

    “I know that in the hunting and shooting community people are kind, and this is an example of that.”

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    Richard first had the idea while listening to the news on his way home from the Midland Game Fair in September.

    Along with George, a former master of the Fitzwilliam, the pair made contact with charity Syria Relief and started collecting coats.

    “Hunts, shoots, companies — it is a whole range of individuals and groups who are getting behind the campaign,” added Richard.

    More than 2,000 coats were collected across the Beaufort and VWH countries alone.

    Angela Meade, mother of four-star eventer Harry Meade, and Pammie-Jane Farquhar were the masterminds behind the Beaufort collection.

    “The shipments will continue so long as the coats keep coming,” said Angela.

    “We’re planning to hit local schools and village shops next.”

    The website has a live map of coat donation points and Richard said anyone who would like to set up further collections should contact them via the website or social media.

    According to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), there were an estimated 7.6million people internally displaced within Syria in July 2015. Half of these are thought to be children.

    The country’s winters are cold — the average minimum temperature is around 2C — and the forecast this weekend is for temperatures of around 4-5C at night.

    “The generosity of rural people and the hunting community is well known — as evidenced by the amount of money hunts collect for their local charities — and this appeal has obviously caught their attention,” said a spokesman for the Countryside Alliance.

    “Anyone who is involved with horses has a riding coat for every possible weather condition, so we should all look at what’s on our hooks and see if we could do with one fewer so these poor people in Syria don’t freeze this winter.”

    Visit: www.countrycoats2syria.org.uk

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