‘Thank you, Ballymoney’

Nadine's husband Mathew, brother John loading up donations before delivery to Ballymena. inbm38-15 s
Nadine's husband Mathew, brother John loading up donations before delivery to Ballymena. inbm38-15 s

A Ballymoney couple who opened their home to receive donations for the refugee crisis have paid tribute to all those who donated so generously.

Trinity Drive couple Matthew and Nadine McCandless have been receiving donations of clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags as part of the campaign run by a Facebook group called Northern Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity.

The campaign is collecting goods which will be driven in a convoy from Cork to Calais at the end of this month.

Mum Nadine was so moved by the stark photograph of a little Syrian boy whose lifeless body was washed up on a Turkish beach that she opened her home to receive donations.

Speaking at the time, 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.”

Now a week on since the McCandless family started their collection, they have thanked all those who have donated.

“It has been going really well and we have been getting quite a lot of donations,” said Nadine.

“We have a set a deadline for Wednesday (tomorrow) for receiving any more donations as that will give us time to get everything prepared for Thursday.

“The everything will be taken to the nearest main collection point which is in Crebilly near Ballymena.”

As well as collecting donations, Nadine and her husband Matthew have been making up sandwich bag packs containing a roll-on deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, soap and a comb.

“We also did a ‘big shop’ in Tesco in Ballymoney for nappies, wipes, babies bottles and blankets. It came to £60 and Jackie Broga from Tesco donated £20 towards it.

“We are realy pleased with the response as it’s just something that Matthew and I were doing by ourselves. We would like to thank all those people who took the time to donate. There has been a lot of controversy and many opinions so we would like to acknowledge them for going out of their way to help.”

ITEMS FOR DONATION

Blankets and sleeping bags

Men’s warm winter clothes in S/M sizes

Men’s hats, scarves, gloves

Men’s shoes (runner and walking shoes)

Candles and torches

Toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, shaving foam

Toiletry bags

Medicines

First aid supplies