Huge Praise For Berkshire Based Volunteers Helping Stranded Motorists
24 July 2016, 10:38
A team of volunteers from Slough Based Khalsa Aid were so moved by the plight of people stranded in lengthy queues heading to Dover that they loaded up two vehicles with water to hand out to frustrated travellers.
Ravi Singh and two others brought cereal bars and nearly 6000 bottles of water in a van and pick-up truck from Slough.
The team, volunteering as part of Khalsa Aid, contacted local police and authorities at the port, offering to help provide much-needed supplies.
A police helicopter helped distribute water to motorists on Saturday but Mr Singh said local officials had been only too happy to take up his offer of additional aid.
``They said 'Okay, we'll take your offer up, when can you deliver?' So we went to the local cash and carry with a pick-up truck and a vanload, and drove with our vehicles full of water,'' he said.
The team ended up getting stuck in traffic themselves for hours but were finally able to deliver aid late on Saturday night.
Mr Singh, 46, said: ``We met a lot of young families with children, mostly people going on holidays, some heading back home to France.
``There was just total frustration. People didn't know what was going on. They could see the queues in front. I asked people what time their ferry was and they said they had already missed it.
``People were very, very frustrated and pulling their hair out.''
As the day wore on Mr Singh said they came across people whose cars had overheated or broken down.
He said: ``One or two guys had serious breakdowns, we tried to help but we couldn't do much, not having parts etc.
``It was a very miserable day for many people.''
The charity said it is ready to provide more help on Sunday if needed. Police have warned the disruption is likely to continue into Tuesday.
Khalsa Aid normally helps refugees and has also provided aid during disasters in the UK including floods.
Mr Singh said the situation at Dover came as a surprise to the team.
He said: ``It was very strange to see people keen for water in a country so developed. It wasn't something that we were expecting to be honest.''
Mr Singh praised local authorities on the ground who he said had been doing their best to help, but said the government should have stepped in sooner.
``Local people and local staff at Dover are doing a fantastic job but the government at central level should have really done something a bit more to reassure the people during the day.
``On a day like yesterday, a scorcher, there should have been a little more action from the Government.''