Fighter and humanitarian Amir Khan has spoken of an “emotional roller coaster” after witnessing the refugee crisis in Greece.
The two-time former light welterweight champion was part of a joint Amir Khan Foundation and Penny Appeal aid convoy, which reached Greece last weekend.
The 28-year-old boxer and teams from both charities handed out thousands of donated items to desperate refugees.
Mr Khan’s foundation and members from Wakefield’s Penny Appeal charity hand delivered aid in the Greek capital Athens and on the island of Lesbos, where thousands of conflict-escaping refugees are arriving every day.
Mr Khan said, “The trip was a real emotional roller coaster. We were so happy to have helped the people we could, but deeply saddened by the number of refugees we couldn’t help.
“The donated items for the aid convoy are making a massive difference to those refugees who arriving on the shores of Greece with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.”
The convoy of around 23 tonnes was loaded with thousands of items, including clothes, hygiene products, sleeping bags, food and water, which had been donated by the generous UK public in just four days.
The vehicles left from Amir Khan’s Bolton gym on Tuesday, September 16 for a gruelling 2,500 mile trip across Europe.
Volunteer driver Khalil Benkhalil said: “As we drove further into Europe we saw more and more refugees and were struck by the harsh reality they face in an effort to find a safe place to call home.”
“For every item we handed out, we received so much gratitude, which just shows what these things mean to the refugees we helped.”Wasim Akhtar, director of the Penny Appeal on Wood Street, added: “Having witnessed at first-hand the tens of thousands of men, women and children - all in urgent need - we know this is a growing crisis that the world needs to respond to.
“Penny Appeal is still working on the ground and is committed to helping as many displaced refugees as we can. People in the UK can still show their support by donating towards lifeline kits, which contain essential food, shelter and hygiene items and will be distributed direct to refugees in places like Athens and Lesbos by Penny Appeal teams.”
The Penny Appeal was launched in 2009 and now works in over 30 crisis-hit countries worldwide. To donate call 03000 111111 or visit www.pennyappeal.org.
The Amir Khan Foundation aims to provide crucial support to disadvantaged young people in the UK and worldwide. See www.facebook.com/akfoundation.