Omagh couple doing their bit for Calais refugee crisis this Christmas

William Smith


William Smith


The owner of a local farm shop has urged the people of Omagh to support the people of Calais this Christmas.

Claire Martin, of Railway Cottage Farm Shop on the Edenderry Road, has created a 'drop off' point for the charity, 'Care4Calais', with the help of husband, Chris. 

The charity delivers essential aid and support to refugees living in the worst conditions across Northern France and Belgium. 

She is seeking donations of items including men’s and boys’ coats, sleeping bags and blankets, tents, toiletries, hoodies, emergency blankets, roll mats and T-shirts, which will go to refugees in Calais this Christmas, many of whom have left their home countries with only the clothes on their backs.

Claire said she will arrange for items to be taken to the Care4Calais drop-off point in Dungannon.

Claire said she initially became interested in helping those less fortunate after seeing the homeless situation first-hand in Belfast. She has carried out a number of appeals throughout the years for various charities.

"A few years ago we were away for the night noticed a lot of rough sleepers,” she said. “We decided to do an appeal and asked for spare warm winter clothes, yoga mats and sleeping bags. In other years we have done collections of baby carriers for migrants mothers.

"In the winter time when it starts to get cold you become so grateful to have a roof over your head and a warm fire at night, you always think about people who have been displaced and those who are not as well off - those are things we take for granted.

"While I have no personal connection to Care4Calais, I find the whole migrant crisis very upsetting. It’s been in the news a lot after those people found in a lorry in Essex. It brings the crisis to the forefront of our minds - that's why we went with the charity.

"We invite anyone to come along with items. A box is available at all times to put items in - you don't have to come during opening hours and it's fine to drop things off at any time."

While items are greatly appreciated, there is also a list of items that are not needed, because there is no demand for them, or because they aren’t appropriate. This includes anything that is dirty, torn, or otherwise damaged, children’s toys, women’s summer or evening wear, high heels, men’s trousers larger than 34’ waist, electrical goods, handbags and towels.

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