Sat, 18 Mar 2017
A GROUP of West Berkshire mothers will be travelling to France next month to help children whose lives have been disrupted by war.
Gail Davis, Laura Kelleher-Byrne and Ellen Clinch will be heading to Dunkirk with bags full of art supplies for child refugees at the Dunkirk Children’s Centre.
Mrs Davis, who runs Gail Davis – The Art Studio, and her son Jack Arthur, aged six, from Chieveley Primary School, came up with an idea to help the refugees.
Mrs Davis said: “We kept seeing and hearing how the children are suffering and I don’t need to tell you the story. We’ve all seen the news and know the torment of war and how the children have to live in the refugee camps with so very little.
“We felt so helpless, so we hatched a plan.”
The Dunkirk Children’s Centre provides play-based learning and a place for children to express their creativity.
The mothers have been filling schoolbags with colouring pads, pens, crayons, chalk, toys and pairs of warm socks to make up for the lack of childhood materials.
Unable to cover the cost themselves, the mothers took to social media, which produced an astounding response, including six volunteers, who have been busy collecting the schoolbags.
Local schools and businesses have also chipped in, taking the contributions to almost 100 school bags, smashing the mothers’ original target.
“We have enough already to get to Dunkirk from Newbury in a hired transit with the 100 filled school bags, a huge chalk board and chalks that is very much needed for the children’s centre, but we’d like to keep adding to the pot so we can give The Dunkirk Children’s Centre a big, fat cheque to help with the running of the very valuable classroom,” Mrs Davis said.
Children from the following schools have contributed to the project; Chieveley Primary; Chieveley Pre-school; Falkland Primary; Speenhamland; Lady Birds Pre-school; John Rankin; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School; St John the Evangelist Infant and Nursery School; Theale; St Bartholomew’s; Brockhurst and Marlston House; Saint Nicolas; St Gabriel’s; Thorngrove; Woolton Hill; Hungerford Primary; St Mary’s Infants, Marlbrough.
Local businesses including Parachute Studios and Netex UK have also helped out, along with friends and family.
Mrs Davis, Mrs Kelleher-Byrne from ACE Dance Studios and Mrs Clinch from YO!ga will be leaving for Dunkirk on April 3 with the supplies.
“We are really looking forward to meeting the children and providing some fun-filled art, dance and yoga classes for them,” said Mrs Davis.
To contribute visit http://www.gofundme.com/3abht94