Convoy delivers aid to Calais refugee camps

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An aid convoy of humanitarian supplies made its way from Castleford to France to help people living in refugee camps.

Food and clothes collected by volunteers at Queen’s Mill were taken to Dunkirk and Calais.

And stories of the conditions facing people fleeing war-torn countries were recorded by volunteer Carole Williams in a diary.

Carole wrote: “People were going about their business, getting on with life, making the best of the situation they were in.

“No one spoke to us at first. They kept their eyes down and carried on with what they were doing.

“There were makeshift shops and restaurants dotted here and there most if not all of the people on the streets were men.

“It didn’t take me long to realise these people weren’t a threat in any way, all the stuff I had been told heard or seen about the violence and anger within the camps was soon forgotten as we walked around and chatted.”

Carole and volunteer Mary Black were among people who took food rations and medicines.

Writing about conditions in the camps, Carole said: “It was bitterly cold and looking at these flimsy thrown together homes that offer little if any protection from the wind and rain it was hard to imagine how these people had survived for so long.

“We had been told of illnesses in the camp chest infections are common and scabies is rife, the place is rat infested, they are trying so hard but depression poverty and despair can be seen and felt as we walked around the camp.”

Carole said refugees told of their attempts to make it to the “promised land”.

She said: “One lad walking with a crutch told me how he had been battered by the police for no reason.

“Others spoke of tear gas attacks that were randomly made, again for no reason, the people who were in their ‘homes’, doors would be kicked in and tear gas sprayed in their faces.”

“All I can say is we needed to see things for ourselves.

“We needed to talk to the people and understand that they are no threat to us.

“We need to bring this home and educate our children these are human beings they do not want to live the way they are being forced to.”