Caring Rugby couple take donations to migrants in Calais ‘who have nothing’

Sammantha Selby and Andy Yelland are planning another trip to the camp
Sammantha Selby and Andy Yelland are planning another trip to the camp

A caring couple travelled to Calais to deliver donated food, clothes and toiletries to struggling migrants.

Sammantha Selby and Andy Yelland made the emotional journey last Thursday after appealing for donations on Facebook.

There are at least two pregnant women on camp. I shudder to think where they will have their babies.

Sammantha Selby

Sammantha, who owns Fancy Me Ltd in Great Central Way, Rugby, said she wanted to help the people in Calais and highlight the struggles migrants face.

“We became increasingly upset with the media representation of the migrants in Calais. We decided we wanted to do something to help them,” she said.

“These people having nothing. They live in a camp site in the dunes of Calais and it is like nothing you could ever imagine - it’s a slum at best. They arrive with nothing, some with no shoes; hungry, homeless and scared.”

Sammantha, 30, and Andy, 35, took boxes of food, toiletries, clothes and tents donated by kind-hearted people in the borough. Sammantha’s business also donated two large boxes of paper and 200 pens for the school that has been set up in the camp.

Sammantha said: “All they want is to feel safe, have a home and work like normal people to support their families.

“We met a man who had walked for two years from Syria to France. There are at least two pregnant women on camp. I shudder to think where they will have their babies, what care they will get and if the babies will even survive.”

The couple were shown around the school by some of migrants and charity workers who are helping in the area.

“I felt the school was a place of hope. I enjoyed being there and sat and listened to stories including that of a pregnant lady,” Sammantha said.

“Her husband made it over to the UK but she cannot contact him. I hope she makes it over so her family can be reunited.”

Andy and Sammantha are keen to break the stereotypical views associated with migrants.

“I know a lot of people are extremely negative about the situation - I appreciate it’s a grey political area but, contrary to popular belief, not all of these migrants are UK bound.

“It takes months for asylum to be granted so they are stuck at the camp until their applications are processed. We were shown around by a guy called Riaz - he has had his asylum in France granted and goes to the camp everyday to help out. A lot of the Sudanese migrants are happy to stay in France too.”

Sammantha and Andy are planning to visit the camp again soon to deliver more supplies.

“As men outnumber women by roughly 10:1 there is a huge need for warm men’s clothing, shoes (not wellies but trainer and hiking types), tents, sleeping bags, blankets and obviously, food,” Sammantha said.

“If anyone would like to donate or find out more about the camp, please feel free to email me using xxsammxx@hotmail.com.”