‘A great show of solidarity’ – Christian and Islamic communities in Hitchin raise more than £3,200 for Syria Crisis Appeal

Sonia Bloom and Edna Sibley collect for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday.

Sonia Bloom and Edna Sibley collect for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

Volunteer street collectors from Christian and Islamic communities in North Herts persevered through the rain and the cold side by side in Hitchin on Saturday to bring the total raised for victims of the civil war in Syria up to more than £3,200.

Helen Richardson collects for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday.

Helen Richardson collects for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

The pairs of volunteers, so far as possible from differing faiths or denominations, were out with buckets and Red Cross regalia at six locations around the town centre as part of the Syria Crisis Appeal.

The total raised during the North Herts drive – pooling the street collections together with the donations made at the participating churches and Hitchin Mosque over the weekend, and the amount already collected at St Mary’s the Sunday before – is £3,292.84.

This amount will go via the British Red Cross to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which provides food and medical relief for victims of the war trapped, starving or injured in their home cities.

“The Red Cross contact I have is quite emotional,” said chief organiser Tricia Reed, a churchwarden at St Mark’s.

“As collectors came back to base on Saturday, it was a joy to hear some of the conversations that had struck up and were still continuing.

“Some of the volunteers seemed to get a lot out of meeting someone who had a different faith perspective on life, and had thoroughly enjoyed putting the world to right with newfound friends.

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“We all have so much in common – not least compassion, love and shared enjoyment of one another’s company.

Don Spivey collects for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday.

Don Spivey collects for the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal in Hitchin on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

“I have written to all groups to thank them for their help. My sincere thanks to everyone who got soaked and cold for such a worthwhile cause.”

Ali Sheriff, a member of the North Herts Muslim community, took a similar line. He said: “This is a great show of solidarity between faiths in North Herts in demonstrating our sympathy for a catastrophic situation in the Middle East and Europe.”

The drive was headed by the Hitchin Parochial Church Council, in partnership with Churches Together in Hitchin and other faith groups including Hitchin Mosque.

For more information, visit redcross.org.uk.

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