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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Cumbria Gran’s mission to deliver aid to Syrian children

A PARTIALLY-SIGHTED 81-year-old from Cumbria is set to continue her mission to the Middle East to help the victims of the brutal conflict in Syria.

Fundraisers from Bootle have already sent essential clothing and equipment to help children affected by the violence, which has seen tens of thousands of civilians slain.

Bootle Refugee Aid Cumbria UK, founded in 1991, is made up of four women from the village – Joan Capp, Pat Kaye, Jean Hughes and Gina Cookson – who work voluntarily to raise funds and deliver aid.

This month the charity reported a container filled with supplies and clothes including a host of hand-knitted items had been distributed by its partner, Edinburgh Aid Direct.

The charity is now planning to send an ambulance to Lebanon, which borders Syria, to help children and babies fleeing the violence.

The original plan was to drive the ambulance over the Syrian border, but after government advice the ambulance will be used in Lebanon to prevent Assad’s forces confiscating it.

Mrs Capp extended thanks to all those who contributed to the first container, and is now inviting donations of summer clothing, shoes and blankets suitable for babies, children and teenagers, that will fill a second container soon to be shipped out. School stationery is also needed.

She said: “We need people to see what their donations are doing. We have asked people for warm clothes because it is the winter over there, and now we want stationery-related things like pens and paper.

“Nobody really knows what they are fighting for over there, that’s why we have chosen to direct our attention to the children and babies. They didn’t choose to be involved.”

Mrs Capp is planning to join the expedition which she hopes will be ready to go in April.

The former Bootle district nurse travelled to Croatia on numerous occasions during the Balkan wars of the early 90s, and has worked with refugees in Montenegro, Ukraine and Africa.

“I am not nervous. For me it is another day in the office,” said Mrs Capp.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the country since 2011 in clashes between opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and his troops.

Mrs Capp says more than a million people have been displaced by the conflict – with thousands fleeing into squalid conditions in refugee camps in bordering countries.

Mrs Capp is appealing for donations, and anyone interested in helping the cause can call her on 01229 718248.

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