This summer we were moved by the plight of migrants swarming into Europe to flee war and famine in their homelands. The sight of families with young children, desperate to find safety and shelter filled our TV screens. Some of their stories were heartbreaking.
Tens of thousands of those desperate people are still searching for their promised land, surviving in makeshift camps – with winter looming.
I was jolted again by this humanitarian crisis when a work colleague announced she was on her way to the refugee camp at Calais known as “the jungle”. Like us, she had witnessed the horrors on the news, but instead of picking up the phone to donate £10, decided to do more.
She set us all a challenge: to fill her Ford KA with clothes, boots, sleeping bags, blankets, pots and pans, anything that might help the migrants.
In just a week we had crammed the office with everything from toothbrushes to tents. The KA certainly wasn’t going to cope so a transit van was secured to make the trip.
She and a friend spent holiday time driving to and from France, then worked with the charities to hand over supplies to the needy.
On her return we were all delighted, if a little humbled, to hear about the joy our meagre offerings had brought to people who had nothing.
Spontaneous generosity like this has become a feature of life in this country in recent years, starting with Band Aid in 1984 and continuing each year through events such as Children in Need.
Whatever the Government response to the woes of the world, the people of the UK are shown time and again to have a good heart.