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When the warden of sheltered homes in Lorn asked residents for donations for Ukraine, she was amazed by what was handed in.
Wanting to help Ukrainians caught up in the conflict with Russia, Christine Cameron asked tenants at the two sheltered housing complexes where she works, Dunmar Court in Oban and Ford Spence Court in Benderloch, if they wanted to donate aid.
‘I was overwhelmed,’ she said. ‘I thought we were going to collect a few items. It was phenomenal the amount handed in. There was so much stuff I had to store it in the shed. We must have had over 50 bags.
‘The boxes reached from the floor to the ceiling in the lounge at Dunmar Court. I am hobbling round with a crutch. It was a challenge stacking up the boxes.
‘A lot of residents were children during the war [from 1939-45]. They remember being in the bomb shelters, and bombs going off around them. They remember the smell and having to put on their gas masks.
‘One tenant was saving up for new clothes, and spent every penny she had saved to buy three brand new sleeping bags. It was just amazing, the generosity. All of them helped.’
The wall of donations included medical supplies, quilts, pillows, jackets, boots, food, hot water bottles, blankets, toiletries, and nappies.
The aid was delivered to Ukraine by Dirk Campbell and Willie Bonniwell a fortnight ago. The pair took two vans on the way out and donated one of the vehicles, courtesy of Flit’s of Oban, to an aid centre once out there.
On their return, Dirk said: ‘It was a successful trip. We had the right kind of aid they needed, it was all useful and very much appreciated. Thank you to everyone who has given support.’
On Wednesday last week, Dunmar Court also hosted a fundraising party for tenants and their family and friends, with music from accordionist Duncan Forgrieve, Highland dancing from 16-year-old Jody Anderson, and a raffle. One resident made a dozen planters to sell at £3 each.
The room was decorated with bunting, tablecloths and napkins in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag. The event, which entertained 36 people, has raised £355 so far, with a few sales still to tot up.
‘Everybody had a great time,’ said Christine. At the end, one tenant asked her: ‘When’s the next party?’