Community rallies round to help refugees

A COCKERMOUTH family is indebted to the community for rallying round to help Afghan refugees. The Lydon family, who recently moved from Dean to The Parklands, was so upset by the plight of the refugees that they decided to try and collect clothes, shoes and others goods which could then be passed on. “What started as a small local collection quickly became a tremendous response from local people who came from all over with donations,” said Dennis.

The family had been delighted when Workington dentist Andrew Rao had offered a van to transport everything to the collection point at Kendal. But they soon realised it would not be big enough. “We had to contact Tyson H Burridge Transport, who without hesitation kindly donated a 7.5tonne truck and driver,” said Dennis.

After knocking on neighbours’ doors, word quickly got round that there was a way to help the refugees. Everyone had seen the images of frightened people arriving in Britain, clutching babies and children, wearing flip flops and with no possessions. The family was inundated with goods from so many people as well as local churches, schools, the Round Tables and Rotary Clubs of Cockermouth and Workington, Workington Inner Wheel and Cockermouth Golf Club.

“There were cars snaking up the cul de sac, people really wanted to help and were dropping off clothes, shoes, toys, rucksacks, mobile phones. “Our garage got more and more full,” said Dennis. “People not only came with donations from Cockermouth but from Great Broughton, Maryport, Dean, Harrington, Workington, Carlisle and even a couple visiting from Manchester.

“Families of soldiers who had served in Afghanistan, some of whom had lost their lives or been injured in the fighting, also came.” Local children made colourful cards saying “Salam Alaikum” (Welcome – Peace be with you) which were placed in many of the bags. Lots of people helped the family pack the huge truck.

“It was a very emotional and proud evening when the truck departed the cul-de-sac in The Parklands,” said Dennis, who is retired and a member of Workington and Derwent Rotary, West Cumbria Hospice at Home and Cockermouth U3A. “It was sent off with great compassion and love,” said Dennis. “We are ordinary people who believe that everyone should be treated with dignity.

“We are so grateful to all the people who kindly donated to this most worthwhile humanitarian appeal.”