Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

British armed forces veteran John Spicer (92) offers up his spare room to house desperate Syrian refugees

A 92-year-old armed forces veteran has offered up his spare room to house Syrian refugees after being moved by the plight of families fleeing war and persecution.

Frank said his father was “a really humble, lovely man” who, when asked if they could take in a refugee family, said: “Yes, of course, that’s a good idea.”

After signing up to the Homes for Syrians website, Frank posted an image of John dressed up with his medals for last year’s Remembrance Day service on a Facebook group in support of refugees in Calais.

The image of his father struck a chord on the group – “went a little bit viral”, as he put it, and he said that’s a good thing.

“We’d like it to inspire other people. We want them to think that if a man of that age can bend over backwards to help people out, then why can’t they?”

John remembers the Middle East “very fondly” and even knows the odd word of Arabic, Frank said. “He had the army experience, he learned to sail on the Red Sea, and he has tales to tell.”

Frank said his father still works as a volunteer with the St Vincent de Paul Society, which helps people in dire need in the area, despite his age. “My dad is a fantastic, wonderful person,” he said.

Richard Moore, who set up the Homes for Syrians website, said John was quickly becoming the "poster boy" for his campaign.

He told The Independent he set up the website after seeing the sheer number of Syrian refugees on a visit to the Greek islands, at which point "the scale of the problem struck me".

The site has only been live for a couple of days but so far, the response has been amazingly positive and makes me proud to be British. It's all a little overwhelming to be honest."

Mr Moore said he hoped evidence of a resource of free accommodation for Syrian refugees would encourage the Government to let more in, and said: "People want to help and many can afford to do so. Let them."

Homes for Syrians is one of a number of popular initiatives set up in recent days to provide support to refugees and put pressure on the Government to do more to help.

Refugee crisis: how to help  

Independent

Independent News Service

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph