Students’ solidarity with refugees in France

Students with parent Clare Stanton-Thompson present their donations to Martyn Allen SUS-160202-105922001

Students with parent Clare Stanton-Thompson present their donations to Martyn Allen SUS-160202-105922001

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The whole community of St Paul’s Catholic College, Burgess Hill, has been moved by the plight of millions of displaced people across the world fleeing violence and insecurity.

When they saw pictures of the situation faced by some 3,000 refugees in a camp in Dunkirk, France, they decided to act.

“The rainy weather has not only been a disaster for the UK but for France as well, the refugees in Dunkirk and Calais have faced some of the worst conditions,” said Alex Thorne, a 6th Form Student and Charity Prefect for the college.“Muddy flooded grounds and lack of many basic provisions has made it horrible for all the refugees across the French coast.”

The college made contact with groups who were organising support and delivering essential supplies to the refugees.

Martyn Allen, a Chartered Surveyor living in Brighton, has made a number of trips to Dunkirk delivering food, tents and waterproof clothing. He said: “I was invited to speak to the college at an assembly and spoke about the conditions in the camps and the items that the refugees particularly need. It is obvious that the students really listened because, thanks to them, we have now masses of donations which will really make a difference.”

Clare Stanton-Thompson, a parent of the school, organised a collection among her friends via Facebook. “It’s such an awful situation for the families in Dunkirk and difficult to really change it from here but I’ve been thrilled by the generosity of my friends.”

The school collected hundreds of items including wellies, waterproof clothing, tents, sleeping bags, children’s and babies’ clothing, food items and medical supplies. They also held a cake sale to raise funds to buy additional wellies.