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Calls for Dartmouth to offer refugees help

Charles Deuchar, who runs Bayard’s Cove Inn, and manager Callum Woodman believe more should be done to help families fleeing violence in Syria.
Their call for action came after national newspapers published shocking photographs of Aylan, a Syrian toddler who was found drowned on a beach in Turkey.
The pictures triggered an outcry over the Govern­ment’s response to the refugee crisis.
Charles and Callum are calling on people across the South Hams to sign the online petition and join the call for local politicians to commit to welcoming those desperate men, women and children escaping violence.
Their petition is one of hundreds set up across the country by members of campaign group 38 Degrees, demanding communities step up and do more to help victims of this crisis.
Charles said: ‘We started this petition because the tragic photos of Aylan were the final straw.
‘I had to do something to show that refugees are welcome here. I know that Dartmouth isn’t the kind of place to turn its back as people drown in their desperation to flee places like Syria.’
Callum said they were hoping Chronicle readers would get behind the campaign.
‘If we don’t stand up and do something, who will?’ he said. ‘We are all very lucky with a roof over our heads and food in the supermarket. We have more than we need and want to try to give something back.’
Callum said he and Charles were also planning to donate money to a one of the charities working outside Calais to buy food, water and blankets to help the refugees over the forthcoming winter months.
‘We may even take a transporter over with supplies ourselves,’ he said.
A South Hams Council spokesman said: ‘The council is following discussions between the Local Govern­ment Association and central Government on the humanitarian crisis.
‘Announcements from central Government are expected and we may then be in a position to understand the role we have as a rural district council and the path we are able to take.’
He added the council had ‘a very good working relationship with the UK Border Agency based in Plymouth.
‘We are committed to working in partnership with them and other relevant agencies to ensure that we fulfill both our statutory and moral obligations toward those in crisis, seeking to deliver the relevant support we can offer with both empathy and professionalism.
‘As with many workforces across the country, individual staff members have pledged their support to help with the crisis, contributing essential items and donating to the cause.’
By signing the petition, people will be adding their voice to calls from thousands of people across the country that more needs to be done.
Megan Bentall, a campaigner at 38 Degrees said: ‘This public outcry should send a clear message to MPs and councillors that more needs to be done to help the desperate men, women and children escaping violence in Syria. This petition should be a wake-up call to local politicians.
‘Britain has a long tradition of helping people fleeing war: it’s part of what makes us a civilised country.
‘And 38 Degrees members have a strong record of standing up for a Britain we can all be proud to live in.
‘People in Dartmouth will be adding their voices to calls from thousands of people across the country to say that enough is enough.
‘Too many people have drowned just trying to reach safety. Politicians need to step up before thousands more people die.’
The local petition can be found at: you.38degrees. org.uk/efforts/refugees-welcome-in-dartmouth.
Meanwhile, Ashprington businesswoman Alison Williams has launched a campaign to get vital humanitarian aid to refugees trapped in the camps at Calais.
The 57-year-old mother-of-three has been so touched by the plight of the desperate adults and children that she is planning to drive the aid supplies to France herself and then work in the camp to help build shelters.
Ms Williams, who is a partner in an eco homes business, is appealing for people to donate items such as clothing, trainers, tents blankets and sleeping bags that can be distributed to the thousands of people in the Calais camp through charities already working there.
She explained she had been moved to take action herself after seeing and reading reports on the plight of migrants at the sprawling Calais camp.
‘I wanted to do something after seeing pictures of the conditions and learning a bit about the stories of the people and how they ended up there and seeing how little they have got,’ said Alison who will be travelling out to Calais with friend Tash Jones and her boyfriend who live in Exeter.
‘There are people who literally arrive in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. They are literally starving there in one of the riches countries in the world.’
Alison is working with the South West Calais Refugee Support Group and she will be among people from Ashburton, Plymouth and Exeter driving aid to Calais – some individually and some in convoy.
Alison will be leaving with what she can fit into her car on Saturday, September 26, and what won’t fit in will be taken by other people in the support group.
She said she was collecting items with messages ‘hope and best wishes from the UK’.
She said she was planning to spend at least a week in the camp once she gets there.
‘We are hoping to construct some shelters for winter because they are just living under bits of plastic and broken old tents and some are sleeping out in the open,’ she said.
Anyone who wants to support Alison with donations can contact her at 01803 732128.

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