Hunting and rural communities have come together to donate a horsebox load of rucksacks and sleeping bags to refugees in the Calais’ “Jungle” camp.
The lorry will take the items to the camp on Friday (October 21) ahead of its scheduled disbandment early next week, when around 1,000 unaccompanied children, among others, will be moved to smaller bases around France.
Following a successful track record with last winter’s Country Coats 2 Syria campaign, which resulted in thousands of warm jackets being donated to Syria, the current appeal was launched by the Beaufort Hunt and coordinated by Angela Meade, mother of H&H eventing columnist Harry.
“This started because a friend [Ali Criado Perez] who is a member of Medicine Sans Frontiers has been out to Calais and came back and said it was going from bad to worse,” said Angela.
“The refugee crisis might be an unsolvable problem but we can try to do something for them by giving them warm sleeping bags and bags to carry their belongings in. It’s a small gesture but hopefully it might make life a bit easier.
“After the success of the Coats 2 Syria campaign, we thought ‘hey, we’ve got a network established and a lot of willing people’,” she said.
Angela will drive the lorry to a warehouse in Calais to drop off the bags, returning on Friday night. While this trip is likely to be a one-off, the strong response means more campaigns will probably go ahead in future.
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“I’m sure something else will come up,” she said. “We must have collected nearly 30,000 coats for Syria. The hunting community has a very wide network and has a lot of very generous people.
“It’s been a good way to get things out there. Donations do seem to come in from far and wide.”