"Brightlingsea - you are literally amazing!"
That was the comment from local singing teacher Alison Benz after Brightlingsea folk rallied round to raise thousands of pounds and provide much-needed items for people displaced by the war in Ukraine.
On Saturday (March 5) the YMCA was a hive of activity as people flocked to donate clothes, food, toiletries and other items in a collection organised by Alison with help from town mayor Jayne Chapman along with members of Alison's Women in Harmony choir and other volunteers. An estimated 2.5 tonnes was gathered in two hours with cash donations made by people bringng goods totalling £880 with match funding.
The items were collected by Polish-born Clacton resident Klaudia Chyla, whose family members run a charity in Poland that is delivering aid to refugees. Everything was bagged and sorted, with clothing that wasn't suitable to be sent overseas sent to a clothing bank and bringing in nearly £300 more.
Meanwhile, an online fundraising drive for the British Red Cross Ukraine appeal set up by local musician Simon Baum has raised (at the time of writing) nearly £6,000 in little over a week.
Simon set up the 2 Pounds 4 Ukraine appeal on Just Giving. "I started the appeal as I went to give to a charity but they asked for £30. My bills are rising and I just couldn’t afford it and I didn’t give," he said. "I felt terrible so decided to set up something that asked for a small amount, the idea being that if a lot give a little we can make a big difference," said Simon.
Other people in town have been collecting items and delivering goods to various charities with local connections and on Saturday shanty group The Motley Crew raised over £900 while singing in outside the Brewer's Arms.
• There’s been an overwhelming demand for tickets for the Women in Harmony concert for Ukraine in St James Church this Sunday (March 13)- and the event is now sold out. No tickets will be available on the door. And due to an excellent response to last Saturday’s collection in the YMCA for items to help refugees, there will no longer be a collection of clothes or other items at the concert.