Since my childhood I have been concerned about the plight of refugees.
I grew up during the Second World War, and was deeply influenced by my parents’ social outlook, particularly relating to poverty and the needs of war victims. My mother had been influenced by her own father, who took her to a soup kitchen in London’s East End when she was twelve. It had a profound impact on her which she later shared with me.
I became a supporter and friend of Herts Welcomes Syrian Families when it began in 2015 because I was horrified to hear about the brutal armed conflict in Syria. I felt a sense of impotence in the face of this horror which made me wonder what I could do. I listened to the stories of the Syrian refugees who’d come to Hertfordshire who described their traumatic escapes to me.
Earlier this year, wondering what I could do to help our Syrian friends, I remembered my mother’s childhood visit with her father to a soup kitchen. I made a simple plan to hold soup kitchen lunch fundraisers to support refugees living locally. My twenty guests learned about Herts Welcomes Refugees whilst enjoying homemade soup and crusty bread. They made generous donations totalling £500 to the charity and my gratitude was - and is - immense.