Kind-hearted Lancashire youngsters send clothes to refugees

CHARITY: Pupils at Bilsborrow John Cross school with boxes of warm clothes for refugees
CHARITY: Pupils at Bilsborrow John Cross school with boxes of warm clothes for refugees
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Big-hearted Lancashire youngsters were so moved by the plight of refugees that they organised a special clothes collection at their school.

Now eight boxes, packed with waterproof clothing, gloves, hats, scarves and other warm clothing are to be dispatched from Bilsborrow John Cross C of E primary school to the island of Lesbos.

Reception and infant teacher Jeannette Brown said: “We started collecting about three or four weeks ago.

“We just put out an appeal to our families and they responded. We’ve got it all boxed up and ready to go.”

The appeal, which was the pupils’ own idea, was sparked after Mrs Brown’s daughter Samantha, a freelance producer, had been to Lesbos for a week to film refugees.

She came home and told her mother about the plight of the refugees and the help being offered by island residents.

Samantha had kept in touch with helpers on the island, including an English couple who run a shop there, who have given up a lot of their time to help refugees.

Mrs Brown said since the weather had changed the plight of the homeless refugees had become even more acute.

A retweeted message about the distress of families in wet clothes who had wrapped up their children in bin liners to keep them dry and warm had brought home how desperate the situation had become.

She said discussing it at school they had wondered what they could do to help: “I did an assembly at school. I asked the children is there anything we can do to help and they came up with (providing) warm clothing.

“They have just been so generous considering we are such a small school.

“Some of the items of clothing are brand new.

“This is a really caring school. I’m really proud of them, they have done so well.”

Headmaster Liam Reynolds also paid tribute to his pupils saying: “They had seen things going on on the news and we had been speaking about it at school.

“We’re just a small school with 42 children – I’m amazed at the response we’ve had.”

An online appeal was also launched to raise funds to help meet the costs - first estimated at £400 or £300 to send the boxes direct to the island’s helpers.

Samantha, a former pupil of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School who now lives in London, then found a more economical quote for transport which means any spare money will now be spent on emergency blankets for refugees.

The small Greek island of Lesbos has seen an influx of refugees fleeing accross the Mediterrean to escape the bloodshed and chaos in wartorn Syria.

Since January, 436,000 refugees have entered the EU via the tiny island of Lesbos, leaving local services completely overwhelmed.