Images from the Med will remind us of refugees’ plight

Cheryl Gibbs' niece Hollie, right, who has alopecia, and Amy Norton, 10, who cut her hair off for a wig-making charity

CHERYL GIBBS: I’m in awe of the courage of these two little heroes

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With news cycles moving at the speed that they do in the 21st century, it seems a long time ago that we first saw the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on a Turkish beach.

However it was barely two months back – we all first saw those heartbreaking images at the start of September.

While the highly contentious and controversial issue of the refugee crisis has remained in the news, it has burned with less intensity. It’s the nature of news – rightly or wrongly – unless there is a major new development any ongoing story slides down the schedule.

But as our story today on HMS Richmond proves, this is very much a problem that is not going to go away by itself.

In just three days on patrol in the Mediterranean, the Type 23 frigate has saved 102 migrants who were being shipped from north Africa to Europe.

As WO1 Mark Gandy, Richmond’s executive Warrant Officer, says: ‘Just seeing how people will risk their lives by heading out to sea in vessels such as these reminds us of how lucky we are and why we do what we do.’

And it is these words we should take to heart as Portsmouth City Council continues to lobby the government in its bid to have the city removed as a ‘cluster area’ for asylum families.

Argue all you like about neighbouring authorities and how many people they are or aren’t taking, but does that mean we should renege on our responsibility to our fellow human beings?

On November 10, a march is planned to protest against the council’s position.

Dismissing the planned march as ‘just an excuse for a lot of people to have a nice day out’ is a tad patronising.

Maybe we should thank our lucky stars we were born here and not in Syria.

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