REFUGEE CRISIS: Doncaster council agrees to open its doors to Syrian asylum seekers

Pictured are Syrian asylum seekers in Lesbos trying to make their way to the island's refugee camp. Taken by the Head family while on holiday.
Pictured are Syrian asylum seekers in Lesbos trying to make their way to the island's refugee camp. Taken by the Head family while on holiday.
0
Have your say

Syrian refugees look set to come to Doncaster - after the elected Mayor gave her backing to the borough working with the Government to help fleeing families

The move has been backed by a nurse who has just returned from a holiday which saw her work to help families on the Greek Island of Lesbos who have arrived after escaping war in the Middle East.

Pictured are Syrian asylum seekers in Lesbos trying to make their way to the island's refugee camp. Taken by the Head family while on holiday.

Pictured are Syrian asylum seekers in Lesbos trying to make their way to the island's refugee camp. Taken by the Head family while on holiday.

When Zara Head, an experienced nurse of 25 years, and her family jetted off to Lesbos for a holiday, they were aware of the Syrian refugee crisis that has led to thousands of people risking death to flee their war-torn homes and travel – many in just a dinghy – to the Greek island in search of refuge.

But it was only when Zara, of Bracken Heen Close, Hatfield, arrived on Lesbos that she was awakened to the extent of the ‘desperate situation’ which has led to the deaths of thousands.

The Head family saw children who have been left to survive on their own, and families forced to trek along mountain ranges in blistering heat to make it to the island’s refugee camps.

Despite arriving in Lesbos for a well-earned holiday, Zara, her husband and fellow nurse Nigel, 17-year-old daughter, Charlie, and son George, aged 14, vowed to help as many dispossessed refugees as possible during their fortnight-long stay.

(L-R) Nigel Head, 48, and Zara Head, 45, who are both Doncaster nurses, have been helping Syrian refugees while on holiday in Lesbos.

(L-R) Nigel Head, 48, and Zara Head, 45, who are both Doncaster nurses, have been helping Syrian refugees while on holiday in Lesbos.

Zara, aged 45, said: “I felt like I had a duty of care as a human being to do what I could to help.

“When we arrived at the airport there were families sleeping in the airport. As we drove to the hotel we saw hundreds of people walking along the roads.

“When we realised the enormity of the problems, we decided as a family to help. So we hired a car and filled it up with bottles of water and biscuits and toured the island, helping the refugees who had just arrived, wet, exhausted but grateful to be safe. Tiny babies, pregnant ladies, the elderly and children travelling alone. It’s heartbreaking.

“The most poignant moment for me is seeing lifejackets at the side of the road in Skala, Sikomania – symbols of those who have survived the crossing for a new life.

(L-R) Doncaster teenagers Charlie Head, 17, and George Head, 14, have been helping Syrian refugees while on holiday in Lesbos with their family.

(L-R) Doncaster teenagers Charlie Head, 17, and George Head, 14, have been helping Syrian refugees while on holiday in Lesbos with their family.

“The response to the crisis in Greece has been amazing, everyone is doing whatever they can to help – and I think we should do the same. We need to pull together as a community to help these people who have been left with nothing.”

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “No one can fail to be moved by the desperate plight of the refugees.

“This country has a long and proud tradition of giving support and shelter to refugees fleeing from war-torn areas and we will work with the government to support the relocation of refugee families.”

It is not yet known how many refugees are expected to be housed in Doncaster.

Lifejackets abandoned by the side of the road by Syrian refugees who had managed to make it across the water into Lesbos in Greece.

Lifejackets abandoned by the side of the road by Syrian refugees who had managed to make it across the water into Lesbos in Greece.