A shipping container carrying vital supplies for refugees held in camps in Europe is making its way from Cornwall to Greece this evening.

Around thirty volunteers from the charity Open Hearts Open Borders spent the morning packing donated aid and supplies to be shipped to the continent.

While many of us spent today relaxing or Christmas shopping - these volunteers were working to ensure refugees, thousands of miles away aren't forgotten about this Christmas.

"The turn out for this container has been amazing. This is our ninth container that we will be shipping and every time there is another container the outpouring of generosity just keeps increasing. We've had people donate, we've had money to help fund all of the costs of sending this container, completely funded by our supporters all over Devon and Cornwall. Two to three times a month I have a group of volunteers here at this storage unit and we are sorting through and packing all the donations so they're ready to be sent. It's a huge culmination of many different groups of people, all volunteers just donating their time and money and resources to try and help out."

HANNAH DUNN, Director, Open Hearts, Open Borders

This container's destined for the Greek island of Lesbos where there are currently more than 18,000 refugees. Mostly people fleeing fled war in Syria, Afghanistan and North Africa, now seeking safety in Europe but held in camps on Aegean Islands.

"It's very heart rending to see these children wandering around with no fixed status, nowhere to call home. They have no permanent base and I think me helping, helps me to get them to feel they've got somebody. That we are helping them and they are not forgotten. They're not on their own. We can keep providing aid as long as they need it."


Open Hearts Open Borders sends two containers of aid a year. They've collection points for donations across Cornwall and Devon and another in London.

Rob's volunteered since 2015. He told ITV News how he opened his house as a donation point after seeing the plight of refugees on the news.

"It was that little boy on the beach. That was a real huge moment for me when young Alan Kurdi was washed up on that beach in Turkey, and I saw the picture of the Turkish police officer carrying him off the beach. That had a profound effect on me where I felt that I needed to be involved. I needed to help these people. People who have lost everything because of war, religious persecution. They don't deserve that and I just wanted to do more to help them. That's why I got involved with this charity because to ship humanitarian aid over to them and to give them a little bit of comfort is just an awesome thing to do it really is."

ROB BUTLER, Volunteer
Mary is a nurse who worked in Calais treating injured refugees

Mary's a nurse who worked in Calais treating injured refugees. Next year, she hopes to return.

"Just being there and seeing these desperate people, absolutely desperate. And yet when I stayed in the camp they would walk up to you with their one meal a day. I remember this guy offering me his meal. I had said "that smells lovely" and he offered me his meal and that's all he had. Even when they have nothing they are still generous and want to give to you. I can still see their faces from five years back. Families, a man with his wife, three little kiddies in a tiny tent and the look of despair on his face that he couldn't provide for his wife and children. It's heart breaking.


Once this container's packed, preparation will start for the next container - lorry loads of love and compassion for those who so desperately need it.