Hitchin’s Felix is flabbergasted by support for refugee drop

Felix Camfield-Walker with clothes which will be donated to refugees

Felix Camfield-Walker with clothes which will be donated to refugees - Credit: Archant

A hairdresser who has been organising a collection drop for vital food, clothing and sleeping bags to assist a growing humanitarian crisis has been staggered by the generosity of people in Hitchin and beyond since he called for help from the community.

Felix Camfield-Walker, owner of Farley’s Hair Salon in Hermitage Road, was moved to help after witnessing desperate scenes of refugees on news bulletins.

His initial invitation for food and equipment to be dropped off at his town centre salon before being handed on to the Calaid charity for distribution in Calais.

But support has mushroomed and now the location has been changed to The Priory School in Bedford Road on Sunday morning to handle the scale of support. Felix said: “I just wanted to help. This thing has grown from one van outside my shop and a few friends bringing their donations down to literally thousands of people and as many vans as we can get our hands on.

“Hitchin Boys’ School, Hitchin Girls’ School, The Priory and Highfield School in Letchworth as well as church groups, youth organisations, charity shops and volunteer groups have all been joining in.

“It’s a very daunting army of awesomeness! Thanks to all for their messages of support, assistance and help.

“We’ve already a mountain of donations waiting at The Priory School on Sunday from 9am to 1pm – so if you’re wanting to come and help please turn up around 8.30am and we’ll find a space for you.”

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Bernie McVeigh from Hitchin gave up his garage to store food, clothing, sleeping bags, tents and mobile phones after learning of Felix’s campaign via social media.

He said: “I’ve only offered my garage but it’s good to play even a very small part in this. I’ve around 30 bags in my garage.

“To watch a humanitarian crisis on our screens every night is hard to see as a father-of-two – but there’s such a great community spirit in Hitchin and it’s great so many are helping Felix’s Donation Drop.”

Mariola Bochnak-Sales, the head of Year 11 at The Priory, said: “I wanted to help immediately.

“The whole school – staff, pupils and parents – have supported this effort.”

Members of the Hitchin community church The Hub Church have visited Calais twice and are returning next week. Church leader Dan Drew said: “Felix has done an amazing thing. I dropped stuff round to him last week and he was so welcoming and beautifully eccentric.

“Thanks to all, the refugees will be so grateful.”