Big-hearted South Tynesiders turned out in force today to deliver a lorry load of support to beleaguered refugees across the continent
South Shields businessman Shah Lalon Amin says he has been left ‘humbled’ by the generosity of the public after setting up an aid convoy to support refugees living in a makeshift camp in Calais as they bid to reach Britain.
A fantastic 550 volunteers have helped to get donations packed and ready for transport at collection points all over the north east today.
More than 70 caring supporters flocked to the drop off point at Al Azhar Mosque at Laygate, South Shields, alone.
The determined activist joined forces with Jenni Yuill, from Teesside, to set up the North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees Facebook page last month in the hope that fellow residents would share their desire to give fresh hope to thousands hoping for a new start.
He admits he has been overwhelmed by the staggering groundwell of support for his aid project.
He says the group has received enough food to feed the estimated 3,500 strong refugee camp - nicknamed ‘The Jungle’ - for an entire week.
Within days of the appeal being launched, the mission raised over £2,000 and saw scores of essential items and clothing being donated to collection points.
Mr Amin, 35, had hoped to collect enough donations to fill up a car - but instead enough food, clothing and toiletries to pack into four articulated lorries will be heading to Calais in a magnificent mission of hope.
The huge array of goods is to be transported to those in need on Friday.
Mr Amin, a dad-of-two from Lawe Top, South Shields, said: “It has been excellent.
“There has been so much community spirit and unity and togetherness.
“There has been an unprecedented amount of donations to our drop off points all over the north east.
“I had hoped we would get enough donations to fill one car - but there is enough to fill four articulated lorries.
“We have enough food to feed the Calais camp for a week.
“It has been so humbling.
“We had 550 people come in to volunteer to get all the donations packed on Saturday - with 70 coming to South Shields.”