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Boxer Khan moved to launch Syria aid drive by boy beach death photo

Boxer Amir Khan is to personally distribute aid to Syrian refugees in Greece
Boxer Amir Khan is to personally distribute aid to Syrian refugees in Greece

World champion boxer Amir Khan has said the image of the body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach made him want to personally distribute aid to Syrian refugees in Greece.

The 28-year-old father-of-one, from Bolton, said he was upset by the picture of the tiny toddler clad in just a T-shirt and shorts and decided to do something to help.

Khan is leading a joint campaign with the Penny Appeal and the Amir Khan Foundation which will see a convoy of volunteer-driven vans leaving from his boxing academy in Bolton, Greater Manchester, to travel the 2,000 miles (3,219km) to Athens.

There they will hand out vital supplies before Khan will distribute more aid on the island of Lesbos to refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict.

The boxer said: "It was after I saw the pictures of the innocent children, the kids dying on the shore of the sea, parents losing the children.

"When I saw that one picture I wanted to read more about it, see what's really going on, and when I read all about it, it did really upset me.

"That's the reason I got my team together - the Amir Khan Foundation and also the Penny Appeal and said 'Let's do something for these people, these people need our help'.

"Having a child myself and imagine losing her in that way would hurt me and I wanted to do my bit.

"What's even more disturbing is knowing that many more lives will be lost unless we provide urgent aid to these refugees who are isolated and in desperate need."

Khan will be travelling to Lesbos on Friday with aid provided by people who donated money towards food, water, hygiene products, sanitation and shelter.

He added that he had been left overwhelmed by the response from members of the public.

"I thought I would maybe get about two or three vans full. It's been so good I've got seven vans full and people are still dropping off aid now."

He hopes he will be able to raise awareness and "show the world what is really happening".

But he admits he is going to find it difficult.

"It's going to be tough. It's going to be hard, being a father myself and having a family myself, to see the things.

"It's going to be a massive challenge for me and it's only going to motivate me and inspire me to do more charity work. It is going to be a sad time as well. It will be nice in a way to put a smile on their face and that's what I really want to do."

He urged others to show their support.

"I hope this only motivates other people into getting involved and giving to charity and showing their support.

"Please show your support to innocent people who need our help, people who rely on us, people who are landing at the refugee camp with no food, no water. There are innocent children who are dying per day. We don't want that to happen."

Adeem Younis, chair of trustees at Penny Appeal, said: "Every day, refugees arrive on the shores of Europe after surviving a horrendous journey with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.

"The items we can provide will make a real difference, giving people hope as they take the first step on the path towards safer lives."

People can still donate towards the aid convoy campaign, with any money raised going towards the purchasing of items.

£50 can provide food and shelter. People can donate online at or call 03000 11 11 11.


From Belfast Telegraph