Syrian Refugees in Turkey

October 19, 2018: Family Beach Day

The Refugee Aid Fethiye (RAF) supporters organised a beach day with around 25  supporters on the beach with around 150 refugees – 50 adults and 100 children.  RAF provided food, drinks and beach things – buckets, spades, balls, kites, buoyancy aids, inflatables.   It was a joy to see the children in the water, many of whom had never seen the see prior to the first beach day two years ago.  At the end of the day RAF kept the inflatables but everything else was left for the children.  Anthony and Mary Brown gave out over a hundred soft toys that they had brought with them from England.

We aren’t allow to publish any pictures of the refugees.

October 15, 2018: From Samara

Click on image to watch video of delivery day

Dear anthony

We have had an amazing week! We had deliveries all over the country of essential aid collected by churches, individuals, schools and community groups across the country. We will have enough to load a fantastic SIX 40’ CONTAINERS OF AID FOR SYRIA!

Thanks to Georgie and the team in Somerset for loading the first of these which we topped up in Worthing on Friday. Two more were loaded today; one in Worthing and another picked up first from Leicestershire then Buckinghamshire. We will load another container in Worthing on Monday, and will still have some aid to load from Worthing, Amersham and Essex next week too. The sixth container up in East Yorkshire will hopefully finish being filled by our amazing partners at Jacob’s Well this week or next

We are also waiting for confirmation from another partner of ours, Operation Orphan, who are hoping to fill a seventh container for this appeal of new children’s clothes for us in the coming weeks. God is good!

Thanks so much also to our many partners, to name a few, Feed The Hungry, Link to Hope, Christian Hope International, The Entertainer, and Tom the farmer for letting us use your warehouses and barns. It makes this all possible.

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped in any way. None of this is possible without you!

For those of you who have just finished collecting, thank you so much – you should definitely take a well deserved rest!  If you haven’t managed to contribute to this appeal but would like to help, we would be glad of donations towards our shipping and distribution costs.  It costs us around £7-7,500 to buy each container, ship it, and deal with the costs in Syria including transporting each one across the country and distributing each box and bag to families in need.  Donations can be made direct to our bank account or through the on line giving platform, details of both are here

We would love more collectors for our next appeal in January, especially new collectors who haven’t done this before. Please check out the link below to find out what is involved in collecting for us, as you will need to register officially before starting as we work in specific ways.

Thanks so much again for making this such a great appeal.



October 9 to October 15, 2018: Overland to Turkey

Rosie and Pete Simpson live in Turkey for 6 months of the year. Rosie is a key member of Refugee Aid in Fethiye (RAF).  Anthony and Mary Brown are too but although this is their third trip to Turkey their contribution cannot be called active beyond collecting knitwear and taking part in the odd activity when over there.

Rosie and Pete travel there and back several times a year taking things for refugees but there is a limit to the amount they can take even with an extra 22 Kg suitcase each.  Travelling overland was one way of getting a large quantity of things to the refugees and if you regard the travel as an adventure the cost doesn’t feature much even in comparison to the £36 for a 22 Kg suitcase or £10 per banana box for Samara.

Pete and Anthony Brown set off in October 9 and travelled through much beautiful country for seven days, through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and finally Turkey.  We travelled the coast to take in the spectacular scenery.

Pete is an ultra long distance runner and insisted on driving all the way.  He doesn’t get tired but it’s easy to miss speed limit signs and the Police are watchful, and and there are plenty of them to catch you out in some countries.

Enjoying the spectacular country

October 3, 2018: Knitwear to Kendal for refugees via Samara’s Aid Appeal

There is a desperate need to get things to refugee camps in Syria and Samara’s Aid Appeal is doing an extraordinary amount of work in the UK with many collection points.  Every container sent takes 1,500 banana boxes of clothing, blankets and other things, all carefully sifted and sorted at collection points.  October 3 was the second time we went to St Thomas’ Anglican Church in Kendal and we took ten bags, mostly from Maundy Relief but selected so as to leave us with the blankets and toys most needed in Turkey

October 2, 2018: Knitwear for refugees

We are bound for Turkey on the 9th and we have lots of knitwear to take.  In addition to what we already had, today we picked up 10 bags of knitwear from Maundy Relief in Accrington.  These bags contained:  55 adult hats; 15 adult jumpers/cardigans; 176 toys; 80 baby hats; 100 baby mitts; 60 baby bootees; 65 baby jumpers; 125 baby jumpers with matching hats; 7 large blankets; 32 medium blankets; and 34 baby blankets.

The toys are particularly welcomed by the children in Turkey.

Also on the 2nd October we obtained more things from Marjorie Clarke in Blackburn.   Marjorie came to our Knit and Knatterthons in Clitheroe and subsequently got her own team of knitters, now numbering around 40, in Blackburn.  These people enjoy knitting but find it especially rewarding that they are knitting for refugees in Syria and in Turkey.

In addition to the ten bags above (two of which contained the toys) we also have everything from our Parish knitters and from Marjorie Clarke’s knitters.

June 17, 2018: Email from Rosie Simpson

Hi Anthony and Mary

A  huge thank you to your knitters for the teddies and mice. Friday was the start of Bayram a three day holiday following 28 days of fasting, as important to our families as Christmas is to us. Nichola and I went out to deliver goods that had been donated to new families in the area and gave out some cuddlies to the children. 

The children were really delighted to receive them and for some it will be the start of something special for them.

It was a heartwarming day for me and I just wanted to share it with you both as well as asking you to convey the thanks of our small group

A great big thank you to you all


April 25, 2018

See the latest wonderful collection of knitware from Marjorie Clarke’s knitters in Blackburn.  We aren’t collecting squares any more and need to check what is the most urgent need for the future.

April 10, 2018: Letter from Samara

Samara aid Appeal is where we have taken blankets and woolly things for dispatch to Syria and this is the latest from them.  Click on the picture to get the full letter.



March 24, 2018

We are still receiving woolly things. We aren’t collecting squares at the moment.  We have hundreds of them which people are slowly stitching into blankets.  We are particularly grateful for knitted hats, particularly baby hats, knitted baby clothes and woolly toys.   See the wonderful little mice too in the picture.

December 19, 2017

I received this long update Samara Appeal (December 2017) from Samara which covers  their recent convoy to Deir Ez-zor which is the largest city in eastern Syria and the seventh largest in the country. It is located 450 km to the northeast of the capital Damascus on the shores of the Euphrates River.

The video below is about distributing shoes, part of the Samara appeal but not something that we contribute to.

December 16, 2017

From Rosie Simpson:  “The latest blanket sewn together from the squares made by your knit and natter group.   These ones are going to Calais and Greece via a Welsh organisation and will arrive at their destination before the really bad weather sets in.”

November 19, 2017

We can no longer easily take knitted ware to Turkey via Monarch.  Firstly the concession we got for an extra 20 Kg bag ceased and finally Monarch went into liquidation.  Moreover there was simply too much for Pete and Rosie and their family and friends to carry.  We needed to find another carrier.

We found one in the form of the Samara Aid Appeal which had a collection point in Kendal from where everything would be taken to a container in Beverley.  We understand the container would carry 1,500 banana boxes of clothing and knitware.  Our contribution amounted to around six banana boxes, some of which is shown in the  picture.  Many thanks to the people of our parish and people in Blackburn who knitted all these wonderful things and stitched squares into blankets.  We understand they are headed for Syria or for Syrian refugees in the camps.

June 18,  2017

The group we were part of last year is now disbanded, largely due to success in helping families get registered.  Medical care is now available to them and children are entitled to education.

There are 1,500 refugee families in the town and 500 known to S, a refugee herself.   She works tirelessly for those less fortunate than herself and her family.

On Wednesday Mary and Rosie went to an educational and social afternoon with women and children. Because of the restrictions of Ramadan i.e. fasting it was felt it should be social rather than educational as the women get very tired.

On Thursday we delivered blankets, clothing and toys.  There is plenty to give out.  In addition to the things brought from England the ex pats are generous or root out what they  don’t need.  When they leave for good there is the bigger stuff.  What is of no use to the refugees might be exchanged in charity shops for things that are.

Everything is sorted and marked and S visits the families to determine needs.  The grapevine is such that when new refugees arrive, they learn about S and they go on her list.  Yesterday we visited three residences that were new to S. At the first family there was also a young girl with a young child and a new baby.  Her mother had told her S  was coming so she came too.  S also learned that there were two babies elsewhere shortly to be born.  There will be clothes for them but not to be handed out just yet.  S made notes in her little note book listing things that weren’t available.  Once registered the refugees are entitled to a one off payment for food but that is it.  This particular family had a fan – necessary in the heat which outside was close to 40 degrees on that particular day.  Fans are essential in this heat and we are attempting to make sure that each family has one. We visited two more residents, the last one quite a way out.  The accomodation is poor and not conveniently placed.  They have to take what they can get.

We had brought children’s clothes, toys and blankets with us to Turkey.  We hadn’t expected the blankets to be needed till later but some of them were.  It seemed strange that the new born baby was so well covered up even in a heat which was almost uncomfortable for us in our light clothing.  The blankets become essential in the winter so we brought over what we could for later. I’ve lost count of how many our group have made so far.  This time we brought two full size ones and three for children/babies.  We have a few more but beyond that we have quite a number to collect from people and enough squares for a dozen or so more.  They will go out as Pete and Rosie to and fro and as family and friends do the same.

There are 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, managing as best they can and waiting for the day they can return to their homes back in Syria.  We can help but a few.

March 6 2017

The next Knit and Knatterthon is on 29 March in Clitheroe.  Our plan was to have the next one in Sabden but due to unforeseen circumstances the Sabden one will be delayed for a few weeks.

January 19 2017

 The third Knit and Knatterthon was on the 23rd November.  A lot of people have been knitting at home producing a large number of beautiful knitted squares.  Some people are giving them to us 30 at a time.  We also have women knitting squares into blankets.  One woman knitted a complete blanket and a man knitted us a beautiful baby cot blanket.
We are overwhelmed with what people are doing.  The Salvation Army gave us an enormous amount of knitted blankets and scarves/gloves etc which we took to a centre in Ilkley last week from where it will go to Leeds and be shipped to refugees in the next two or three weeks.   We did this partly because of the urgency of the situation over there and partly because transporting material in suitcases – even with quite a few trips over there – means that everything we have will take some time.  However whatever is knitted for our own dedicated group in Turkey will go in suitcases and be delivered into the hands of the people you knitted them for.
August 8, 2016
The first blanket made of Knit and Knatterthon squares was displayed at Sabden Church on Sunday, 7 August  and will be on display at St Michael and St John’s on Saturday and Sunday 13/14 August.


The next Knit and Knatterthon will be in October, date to be arranged. When fixed, you will find it under “Events” on the home page of the website.  However many people are knitting squares at home so do please add to them if you want to help Syrian refegees in Turkey.  You can leave completed squares at the back of St Michael and St John’s with food for the Food Bank.
July 27 2016
June 29 2016
Knit and Knatterthon
Pictures by Bernard Mercer, Ken Geddes and Anthony Brown

The Knit and Knatterthon was an enormous success with people arriving at just after 10.00 am and the last leaving after 10.00 pm.  One or two stayed the entire day and a healthy number put in quite a few hours.  Things slackened off a little in the afternoon but people came and went and kept the numbers up.  People came from as far away as Manchester, Preston and Blackburn so the publicity worked better than we could ever have imagined.  Numbers reduced around teatime with a fresh influx after evening Mass (it was the feast of St Peter and Paul) to enjoy the Clitheroe Ukulele Band who put on a show which was almost enough to stop the knitting and in some cases did. In total 75 people put their names on the list of attenders and that didn’t include the 12 children from St Michael and St John’s.  The age range was 97 years.   I think we had all but one of the local Christian communities present but not everybody noted their affiliation so we could have had all eight.  It was a wonderful community event with people making new acquaintances.  Knitting is surprisingly relaxing and the conversation flowed easily even with complete strangers.

Click on the picture for a video of the event.


What was particularly good was the number of young people and men and the number of people who came to learn or refresh.  The experienced knitters were kept busy teaching the newcomers.   Despite this slowing down of square production the final number of squares was 135, though admittedly many of these, along with two blankets were brought along already knitted.  Quite a few people took away their squares to complete later at home and we also have more promises of blankets and squares from people who weren’t able to come but may come next time.

The next Knit and Knatter is July 27, same place but time to be arranged.  It will be a shorter day than the last one and perhaps the start of something regular.

The squares and blankets will travel by air in suitcases to Dalaman Turkey in September and  more will go out next year.  From Dalaman they will be taken to the border camps and when winter comes they will be much needed.

April 19 2016 (from Rosie Simpson)

Yes please to the craft materials. etc.  We will find a way to get the stuff out here and to those in need. Every day we hear of more families trying to settle down here needing help and assistance.Current situation locally. “We” (the group that has been involved for a while now) are in touch with approx 100 people (all in families) in the area. These have been here from several years to one month. They are aware of the presence of quite a few others locally but they are not yet in touch, and are probably transient. The ones “we” are in touch with live in very  poor quality rented accommodation (several families crammed into a small apartment for which the Landlord is over charging approx £250 per month  . A small number have work (agricultural labourers, though in Syria they are from all walks of life) and inevitably are paid about half the minimum wage (the legal min wage is £425 per month approx) They are also having to pay too much for their accommodation

Probably none of them are in this region legally.  To be legal they should have registered at a camp near the border and then  re registered where they go if they leave a camp. However very few are legally able to register outside a camp. The Provincial Authorities are seeking to have the whole area designated as a Tourist area and therefore not suitable for refugees and could easily take action in future to evict them . The local council  seem prepared to “turn a blind eye” as long as attention is not drawn to them. hence the reason why many avoid contact with other people as much as possible

Assistance is therefore pretty much limited officially to individual acts of kindness and can not officially be organised ,and in any case fund raising can only be done by a registered charity

Over the winter a great deal of “kindness” has been given and their needs for food and clothing have by and large been met . The refugees themselves do not of course want charity. The men want to work, provide for their families here for as long as necessary and then return to Syria when possible.

The focus for the group now is to try to improve their quality of life ,and in particular attempt to provide education/stimulus for the children , and some comforts in the homes (beds, cookers,  fridges, and heating next winter.)


Pete and Rosie

April 14 2016

[Mary and Anthony Brown are going out on June 7 with Pete Simpson, and his daughter Katie is going out during May – that is a few more suitcases]

Dear Rosie

A woman [from the Coummunity Chruch]  gave us an enormous amount of card making things.  She did it professionally but stopped and was pleased to give us everything she had.  It probably weighs about 50 kilos.  We also have more wool and dolls and we have knitted wool blankets promised.
The knit  and knatterthon idea is gaining momentum too.

10 April 2016

From Rosie Simpson

Today I went to visit the families in to distribute the goodies to all. To say that they were excited and appreciative is an understatement. The knitted dolls were the favourite amongst the children, The families have managed to get some rented property at over inflated prices and which is  extremely substandard. The monies that has been  donated is being used to buy food, and basic equipment to cook the food on or with such as pans, plates etc. We were given lots of clothing too which we gave to the group to share out, which they did with alacrity and a sense of fairness. Best jumble sale I have ever been to!

Because some of  them have been able to secure rented accommodation a few of the children have been enrolled into schools, which will be really useful to them whilst they are displaced.

We are debating on how to set up the craft sessions with the children.

Thanks so much for all your support, will let you know what we do with your money, it is illegal apparently to give money, but it is ok to buy them what they need. So far donated money has been used to buy second hand cooker hobs, fridges and even washing machines, beds and bedding and carpets as the houses all have concrete floors. I will be advised by those who visit regularly and report back when we have purchased something with your money.

I cannot express how grateful I am for your interest and support

A million thanks

Rosie xxx

10 April 2016
Thankyou to everyone who contributed to this magnificent haul  of woolly things for Syrian refugees which Pete and Rosie Simpson took to Turkey last Tuesday.  More has come to us since and we have been  more promised which will go out in May or July.  All this will be delivered first to the 50 refugee families hiding in half built abandoned buildings or parcelled and send to the border to Lily  Either way it will be delivered into the hands of the people who need it.  We also have card and craft materials promised.   Greetings cards with plain pictures which can be cut and pasted onto other card for reuse are good.
Thanks also to Sheila Shore who did a work study exercise and determined that 2 hours is a reasonable time for an average knitter to knit one 8 inch square; and to Chris Hartley who has promised to run a knitting course for men (two takers so far) in advance of, or possibly as a feature of, a Knit and Knatterthon to be arranged.   
Anthony and Mary Brown

From Pete and Rosie Simpson’s facebook: Had to book another bag for the plane, thanks to our lovely friends Anthony and Mary Brown bringing over loads of goodies for the Syrian refugees, They have canvassed friends who have donated wool, knitting needles, knitted toys, baby clothes and crochet blankets as well as a financial contribution towards food. Feeling very humble to know such fantastic people, Even with an extra case we still could not fit it all in and some will have to come out on next trip