‘Don’t forget all the refugees this Christmas time’

Lewes Amnesty International Group demonstrate support for refugees at Cuckmere Haven, Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex - picture by Dylan Fell - date 11 Oct 2015 SUS-151020-134105001
Lewes Amnesty International Group demonstrate support for refugees at Cuckmere Haven, Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex - picture by Dylan Fell - date 11 Oct 2015 SUS-151020-134105001
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A Lewes town councillor has issued an appeal to local people to remember the plight of Calais refugees at Christmas.

Annabella Ashby, Green Party town councillor for Castle ward, is involved in organising several fundraising efforts and has called for residents to continue supporting these initiatives this festive season.

Annabella said: “Lewes is a town that officially welcomes refugees. This was declared by the Mayor of Lewes, Susan Murray, and supported by a march of hundreds of people through the town at the end of October. Although the refugee crisis across Europe has fallen out of the headlines in recent weeks, the situation for many is still desperate.

“As Christmas approaches and the winter wears on, we hope local people will continue to show their generosity by donating to ongoing efforts to support refugees in Calais, and beyond.”

In September, Cllr Ashby and Lewes resident Adrienne Thomas started Soup Aid, a fundraising drive offering soup and bread every Friday lunchtime at The Hearth Bakery and Pizzeria in Lewes.

So far, this initiative has raised £3,000, which is divided between several causes - the medical charity Medicin sans Frontières for their work in the Mediterranean, the building of winter shelters in Calais and support for unaccompanied children in Calais.

Mayor of Lewes Susan Murray hosted another fundraiser at the Town Hall in November, with performances from local writers and singers including John Agard, Grace Nichols, Norman Baker and Pam Hewitt. The event raised more than £4,000.

Annabella and other volunteers from Lewes have personally made the journey to Calais to deliver food and medical supplies to the camp.

Green Party town councillor Fraser Addecott organised a collection of donated items which was taken to Calais earlier this year. He also started an online crowdfunding campaign which raised £500. The money was spent on building materials for temporary shelters at the Calais camp.

For more information about Lewes initiatives for refugees go to the Facebook page Lewes Action for Refugees. For information about volunteering in Calais, go to www.calaidipedia.co.uk.

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