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Horsforth volunteers spread warmth and save lives in Iraq’s refugee camps


Volunteers from St James Church in Horsforth have packed vans full of warm clothing to help refugees survive freezing temperatures in northern Iraq

By Anna Riley

CHILD REFUGEES will be prevented from freezing to death this winter thanks to the support of the Horsforth community.

Over two tons of warm clothing and shoes were donated to help those living in Northern Iraq refugee camps, following a charity appeal at St James Church on Low Lane.

The donations, including supplies for babies, were sent overseas on October 3 and are due to arrive on October 24.

St James Vicar, Rev Richard Dimery, said: “Temperatures plummet to below -40°C in the mountains where the refugees fled to following a threat of terrorism from the Islamic State in their central Iraq home towns.

“Thousands of newborn children and pregnant women died in the refugee camps last Christmas due to lacking sufficient cold weather provisions.

“Due to this, every jumper and coat given has been used to save a life across the world.”

There are 21.3 million refugees worldwide according to UN Refugee Agency statistics, with over half under the age of 18.

horsforth-refugees-2St James Church gathered refugee supplies on behalf of the charity Samara’s Aid after learning about the cause on Facebook.

Mrs Samara Levy, founder of the Brighton-based charity said: “I decided to start my plea for support when I saw pictures of children walking through the snow-filled refugee camps in flip flops.

“As a mother, it broke my heart.

“I couldn’t believe the luxuries that families take for granted in the UK like heating, food and safety compared to the suffering of people 2,500 miles away.”

Samara’s voluntary humanitarian aid project began in October 2014 when she asked parents at her children’s primary school to donate.

Miss Nicola Pullan was one of 30 volunteers involved in sorting and packing donations for the Horsforth refugee appeal.

She said: “I was friends with a former refugee at school and she told me all the hardships that she went through.

“When I heard about the appeal, I wanted to get involved and make a difference.”

To date, Samara’s Aid has filled 50 lorries with relief which were sent to Iraq, Syria and Jordan, raised £1.5 million and clothed over 150,000 refugees, as well as providing them with emergency medical care.

This is the second year that St James Church has helped Samara’s Aid and organisers plan to ask for more donations in October 2017.

Further information on Samara’s Aid can be found at and on the Facebook page ‘Samara’s Aid Appeal.’

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