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A catch up on the Fylde Coast Amnesty group's activities

Fylde Coast Amnesty Group News

The Fylde Coast Group has had quite a busy year.  Our numbers are growing and we now have approximately 24 active members and many more on our mailing list.

In April we held a fund raising event which was a fashion Show run by the company, Colours.  This was good fun and raised a very welcome £900.

Julie, our treasurer and the Regional Secretary organised a couple of ‘Football Welcomes Refugees’ events. She negotiated with Blackpool FC and Fleetwood Town FC and as a result both clubs offered free tickets to local refugees and asylum seekers and their families. Other members of the group attended the matches on 21st and 28th April to support Julie and the refugees.

As usual we supported Blackpool Pride on 9th June by both walking in the parade and having a stall. We manged to get at least 200 solidarity and appeal cards signed for Sakris Kupila. The weather was glorious, in contrast to other years, and we danced our way along the promenade accompanied by our drumming member, John, and his drumming group.

June 11th was identified as Gabriella Ratcliffe’s fourth birthday and so we organised a group photo with Happy Birthday cards and 4 candles on a cake.  This was sent to her father to forward and let us hope that her mother will be released soon.

On June 16th the Fylde Coast Group took part in the Welcome Refugees photo shoot. We gathered in front of Blackpool Tower (in the pouring rain) holding Fylde Coast Welcomes Refugees banners.

The group participated in St Anne’s Carnival on the 7th and 8th of July.  We walked in the parade, raising awareness of the Fylde Coast group’s existence and we had a stall giving out information about Amnesty and providing an opportunity to sign appeal cards for human rights defenders in danger.

Instead of our usual meeting in August we had a social gathering which was much enjoyed by all.

A street collection was organised in Poulton le Fylde on September 10th and we managed to raise £150.27. It was a bit disappointing and we have decided to return to Lytham St Anne’s for the next collection.

In November/December we took part in the Write for Rights campaign. We didn’t have a group effort, it was carried out by individual members at local churches.  This year, however, we got a local primary school involved and Years 4, 5 and 6, guided by their art teacher, produced beautiful cards and messages for Mother Mushroom of Vietnam who was the Junior Write for Rights target.

In November we took part in the Winter Gardens Christmas Tree Festival. Our tree, ingeniously created by Bobby, featured an Amnesty theme and in particular highlighted the plight and fate of thousands of refugees in Europe.

On Friday 1st of February we, and Julie in particular, organised a Pub Quiz which was held at Fylde Rugby Club.  We drew attention to the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights Act.  Julie managed to get coasters, posters and balloons which were all Human Rights Act themed. The evening was a great success and we raised a healthy £429.

Our area is south East Asia and we were supporting Sombath Samphone and two students from Laos.  Sombath has been missing for over 6 years and we have had no response to our enquiries about his whereabouts.  The two students were released. We have since adopted Senator Leila de Lima who has been imprisoned, on false charges, in the Philippines

Sadly, in December, Glynn Eatock, who had already stepped down from being Chair of the group after many years of devoted service, decided to retire from being an active member of Amnesty because of ill health. He will be missed but he remains on the emailing list.

In January we moved to a new meeting venue, The World Healing Centre in Blackpool.

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