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Gravesend grandmother visits Greece migrant camp after 24 years at Oxfam shop

PUBLISHED: 17:29 05 October 2017

Margot Edwards, 83  at the Filippiada Refugee and Migrant camp in Greece. Andy Aitchison/Oxfam

Margot Edwards, 83 at the Filippiada Refugee and Migrant camp in Greece. Andy Aitchison/Oxfam

© Andy Aitchison / Oxfam

She joined three other volunteers

A “wonderful” Gravesend grandmother has returned from helping refugees and migrants camped in Greece.

Margot Edwards, 83, has spent 24 years volunteering at the town’s Oxfam shop, but now she has seen the charity’s work first hand.

The grandmother-of-six went visited refugees and migrants as part of the charity’s 75th anniversary.

After returning from her visit to the Filippiada Refugee and Migrant last month, Mrs Edwards said: “This is the first time I visited Oxfam’s work and it was inspiring to see how some of the money from the Refugee Crisis Appeal has been spent.

“We met a heart-rending case of a girl, who as she crossed the border into Turkey, was separated from her mother.

“Her mother is now in Germany, her father in Denmark and she is living in this camp with a host family who have taken her in and are looking after her beside her own children.

“She is hoping to be reunited with one of her parents soon.”

Oxfam first set up in 1942, calling for the Allied blockade to be relaxed to allow vital food and aid to reach hungry people in Greece and elsewhere in mainland Europe.

Since then it has grown to work in 90 countries trying to bring an end to poverty.

Joined by three other Oxfam shop volunteers, Mrs Edwards added: “I now realise how lucky I am and how lucky my family are, that we live in the UK.

“Here, these people, a lot of them are in limbo, they don’t know where or when they are going to next. We met many families, they are such nice people and have been fleeing hostilities. It’s very sad for them. I didn’t realise their plight, you read about it in the paper, but when you actually meet people and they tell you what they have been through, it’s a very different scenario.”

Since October 2015, Oxfam has helped over 100,000 people stuck on Greece’s mainland and on the island of Lesvos with clean water, sanitation, shelter, communal kitchens, food, hygiene kits and safe spaces for vulnerable women and children.

Andrew Horton, director of Oxfam Trading said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our shops. Last year alone the shops raised over £17m to help fight poverty and injustice around the world.

“We want to recognize the important contributions volunteers make daily. The visit to Greece has enabled four wonderful volunteers see for themselves the impact of their support and for us to highlight the important role that volunteers have had in making Oxfam what it is today.”

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