Ottery’s ‘heart-warming’ response to appeal for refugee family’s relative

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:51 30 September 2020

Ottery resident Hani, originally from Syria. Picture: Ottery Refugee Response Group

Ottery resident Hani, originally from Syria. Picture: Ottery Refugee Response Group

Ottery Refugee Response Group

An appeal by Ottery residents is funding vital medical treatment for the uncle of a Syrian man who lives locally with his family.

Trevor Leahong and Melanie Argent from the Ottery Refugee Response Group collecting items for refugee camps.Trevor Leahong and Melanie Argent from the Ottery Refugee Response Group collecting items for refugee camps.

Ottery resident Hani Arnaout has made a video expressing heartfelt thanks to all those who have donated, including many local people.

His uncle Khalid Abdalsalam Altaiar lives in Damascus and was badly burned in a gas cylinder explosion at his home earlier this month, that killed his wife Haawa.

Khalid is now in hospital in Douma, and needs a series of operations to ensure that he can regain the use of his hands and arms.

The operations are only available privately, at a cost of more than £2,500.

The Ottery Refugee Response Group launched a crowdfunding drive which has so far raised more than £1,000, and money has been sent to the hospital to pay for Khalid’s treatment to continue.

The group’s secretary Trevor Leahong said: “The response to our appeal for Khalid’s treatment in Syria is heart-warming and reflects the generosity and humanity of so many people in Ottery and the surrounding area.

“The town has welcomed Hani, Khalid’s nephew, and his family with open arms and after three years here, he has established himself locally as a handyman.

“He and his wife Amneh named their second daughter Mary, aged two this month, after the church and the town.”

The couple have two other children aged eight and six, who attend Ottery St Mary Primary School.

The family came to Ottery in September 2017 under the Community Sponsorship Scheme, run by an organisation called Abide.

The Ottery Refugee Response Group is a separate group which began in 2015.

The group supports refugee families settled in East Devon, working with Refugee Support Devon and other local groups, and campaigns for more refugee families to be resettled in the area.

As well as fundraising for refugees, it collects items for refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East. Recycling in Ottery acts as a collection centre for donated tents, household products, clothing and food, which are then taken to organisations that arrange shipments to the camps. Collecting is under way now for a shipment in November.

To donate to Khalid’s treatment, visit the Crowdfunder website


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