Volunteer on a mission to aid refugees
A HENDY man is on a mission to help Syrian refugees survive through freezing conditions this winter.
After studying a degree in war, conflict and modernity at Brighton University, Paddy Vipond decided to put his education into practice by helping those less fortunate than himself.
Based in Turkey, where he carries out volunteer work with children in Ankara, the 22-year-old has been drawn to help in Syria.
Teamed up with his Dutch friend Wijbe Abma, the pair aims to raise funds for essential blankets to help refugees survive the cold.
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Mr Vipond, of Squirrel Walk in Fforest, said: "Both of us see what is happening across the border in Syria and we both feel committed to doing something to help the situation in any way we can.
"Being in Turkey for six months and seeing all this happening just a couple of hundred miles away I can't ignore it, I can't walk away from it knowing what's going on.
"You hear a lot of news of what is going on over there and I was interested in doing something to help.
"I was put in touch with Wijbe, who has similar ambitions as me, and we have been raising money and awareness of what we are trying to do in getting blankets to the people who need them for the winter.
"The conditions will kill people over there, and I just wanted to do anything I could do to help."
Mr Abma has already taken 100 blankets into Syria — funded out of his own pocket — and Mr Vipond added that they were very well received by people who have left everything they have in the hope of a better life.
The pair plans to head back to the border to deliver even more blankets this month thanks to generous donations of £10,000 euros so far.
Mr Vipond said: "We have started to see that it can really help people and we have started to create networks to raise as much money as possible.
"We were not expecting such a big response and it really has become a two person job — with the financial backing we can buy a lot of aid, especially with every blanket just costing eight euros.
"These are freezing conditions and people are dying — even if we protect five people it will be worthwhile.
"I like to have a project, I can't just sit around doing nothing. When there is an opportunity like this I will take it any day."
If you would like to donate to the cause, visit the website www.dontforget syria.com