‘I couldn’t sit back and watch’

Ballymoney woman Nadine McCandless who has opened her home as a collection point for the NI Calais Refugee Solidarity campaign. INBM37-15

Ballymoney woman Nadine McCandless who has opened her home as a collection point for the NI Calais Refugee Solidarity campaign. INBM37-15

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A Ballymoney woman, who was so moved by the newspaper photograph of the body of a little Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach, has opened her home as a collection point for donations of clothes and medicine to be sent to refugees in Calais.

Mum Nadine McCandless decided to “get up and do something” after seeing the picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi who drowned as his family fled from war-torn Syria.

Aylan’s five-year-old brother and mother also drowned.

Nadine told the Times: “I knew about the refugees and the war in Syria but to be honest I never really paid much attention to it.

“But it hit me when everything came out about the wee boy being drowned as up until then I didn’t realise how serious it was.

“I really felt the need to get up and do something about it.

“I’m a mum myself and I couldn’t just sit back and watch.

“So when I saw this group [Northern Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity] on Facebook, I just thought ‘why not’ and the response is amazing. I’m just glad to be doing something.”

Nadine opened her home at 34 Trinity Drive, Ballymoney, over the weekend to receive collections and will continue to do do each day from 3pm - 7pm until the donations are sent to Cork, from where a convoy will take all the goods collected in Northern Ireland to Calais on September 28th.

And, it‘s not just Ballymoney where collection points have been established.

LOUGHGIEL - Millennium Centre on Sunday 13th September from 12.30pm - 2pm

BALLYCASTLE - McAllister Hall Sunday 13th and 20th from 1 pm - 3pm

BALLYCASTLE - unit 6 Leyland Road Industrial Estate Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm (if unit unattended, contact Greenlight Gateway)

DUNLOY - Sinn Fein office week days 9.30am - 4.30pm

BALLYCASTLE - Harbour Bar daily from 5 pm - 9pm

On Saturday 19th September, Ballycastle youth drama club Quadrangle Productions will be holding a fundraising event in the McAlister Hall to “do our bit to raise money for the many thousand of refugees stranded across Europe at the moment”.

A spokesperson said: “As a group who works primarily with young people we may not be able to do a lot, but what we can do is use our skills and talents to give our local young people the opportunity to come together and enjoy each others company for a few hours.

“The event will be open to all young people aged between 4 and 11 years from 11am to 1pm and all we are asking for is a small donation which will then be divided up between Save the Children, Medicine Sans Frontiers and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station.

“On the day children will enjoy games, a craft table, jig-saw table, jewellery making and face painting.”

Keep an eye on the Ballymoney Times website for updates on new collection points.