Matlock mum’s eyes are ‘wide open’ after taking vital supplies to Syrian refugees

When most of us see news reports of the refugee crisis, it feels like another world entirely.

The suffering appears as a scripted screenplay; crafted by the media and irrelevant to our safe, comfortable and happy lives.

For Matlock mum Liz Worsley, however, the plight is all too real.

After being overwhelmed by pictures of the drowned infant on the island of Kos, she filled two big vans with vital supplies – then drove them across Europe to desperate Syrian refugees.

“Conditions in the camp were terribly basic,” said Liz. “There were half a dozen tents for everybody to sleep in, but no beds or even sleeping bags.

“There was a basic first aid tent and another tent with some food in, but no cooking facilities on the site. People were living on bits of bread, cheese and water.

“Port a loos are the only waste facilities and there is no real washing facilities.

“And the litter is everywhere – it’s not a nice place to live.”

Liz, of Linden Grove, said it was daughter Meghan, 14, who provided the spark for her and husband Sean back in September.

She said: “We were sat around the dinner table, all so shocked by the pictures of the drowned children in Kos.

“Meghan said ‘we have got to do something’ and so the idea was born. Meghan also came up with our group name, Hope for Refugees.”

The big-hearted family started organising donations from across Derbyshire until they had built up a bounty of supplies.

Then on October 11, Liz, accompanied by Jackie Hughes and Richard Earl, began their four-day journey across Europe.

In two vans, they drove at least eight hours a day through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Italy.

They hopped on a ferry to Greece before driving the final leg to a camp on the Macedonia border.

Liz said: “A lot of the refugees did speak English, so I was able to talk with them.

“The majority of them were young men, although there were women and children too.

“I asked one young man why he had left his family in Syria. He said ‘I’m could not put my daughter and wife through the danger I’ve been through’ as he had crossed on an illegal, overcrowded boat.

“He said he would find somewhere safe, try and save some money and then send for his family if they were still alive.

“This is a story we heard a lot.”

Liz returned to Matlock last week and has already begun gathering supplies for the next road-trip, which is due to take place in early December.

She said: “We are mainly looking for donations camping supplies. It’s starting to get cold there and the refugees are so ill-equipped to cope.

“Men’s shoes are also an essential. But any toiletries are very welcome too.”

To find out more, call Liz on 07464 935116 or email hopeforrefugees@outlook.com.