What started off as an idea by two friends quickly blossomed in just five weeks into a fundraising event in Hillsborough that raised £10,000 that will give towards helping Syrian refugees.
Solicitor and children’s author Elizabeth Bloomer and friend Carolyn Perkins, a vet, both parents from Hillsborough , were so fed up with seeing television footage of the events in Syria that they decided to do something to help.
They had both been talking about the harrowing pictures of the dead boy’s body on the beach.
Elizabeth was going through a traumatic time losing her much beloved pet, 20-year-old dog Charlie who died.
The pair refused to dwell on negative things and so both had a ‘light bulb’ experience and decided they would do something positive to help others.
Carolyn had told Elizabeth how upset her seven-year-old daughter had been at seeing pictures of the refugees in Syria and before the pair knew it they were calling up local businesses asking for donations, setting up a committee and ringing up the Hillsborough Village Centre for a room to set up a fundraising event on the morning of Saturday February 13.
They were given some amazing prizes such as afternoon teas at a local hotel, vouchers from the Plough, handbags and a family pass for the Lisburn Omniplex all donations from local businesses. They also organised a design a poster competition for children through local schools. A local school offered to organise a non uniform day.
The women have a Facebook page and a Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/haveaheartthisvalentinesday The event was a fantastic morning of fun for the family and has raised an amazing £10,000.
Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.
The Tearfund charity, which helps they Syrian refugees say that families in Syria are struggling to survive or make a new home in neighbouring countries. Others are risking their lives on the way to Europe, hoping to find acceptance and opportunity. And the onset of harsh winter weather makes life as a refugee even more difficult.
The Just Giving page is open for donations and anyone can text just one pound to make a real difference by sending a text to 70070 with HILB90 £1 in the text.
Elizabeth said, “We were just overwhelmed by the generosity of local businessesand offers of support from others. Being a mother the pictures of a dead body on a beach affected us more than most. The child on the beach was seven, the same age as our children. Scenes like that is just too hard to bear. “We thought if we can do anything to stop children dying like that. We were surprised to raise such an amount.”