Convoy organisers from Norwich vow that aid will get through to refugees in Calais despite ban

Police officers look for migrants attempting to access the Channel Tunnel in Calais, northern France

Police officers look for migrants attempting to access the Channel Tunnel in Calais, northern France, Thursday, Jan.21, 2016. Bulldozers moved in this week to clean the Calais migrant camp after hundreds of migrants began moving deeper into the squalid camp. Some fear the camp will eventually be razed to rid Calais of migrants. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) - Credit: AP

Organisers of a convoy from Norfolk taking supplies to migrants camped near Calais have today vowed to go ahead with the mission – despite French authorities saying they will be turned away at the border.

File photo dated 24/02/16 of women walking through the jungle camp in Calais, France, as new researc

File photo dated 24/02/16 of women walking through the jungle camp in Calais, France, as new research shows that more than 150 children with close family in Britain are living alone in a Calais refugee camp. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday April 23, 2016. A report by aid charity Citizens UK found there were 157 unaccompanied children in the border camp known as the Jungle who have close family members in Britain to live with. See PA story POLITICS Calais. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Two minibuses stocked with donations were due to set off from Norwich on Saturday morning and join up from other groups elsewhere from across Britain to drive to the ferry terminal in Dover.

However yesterday the French Border Police banned the convoy.

Months in the planning, more than £2000 has been raised and rucksacks full of vital donations have been collected.

There are 26 volunteers from across Norwich determined to make the trip.

You may also want to watch:

Julie Bremner, a member of Stand up to Racism Norwich, who is taking part in the convoy, said: 'It isn't going to stop us. We will still go and will travel to Dover as we had planned and get as far as we can go. Hopefully the pressure of 250 vehicles will make them change their minds. When we are on their doorstep, wanting to help people who are hungry, thirsty and cold, how can they turn us away?'

Stand up to Racism Norwich and The Ihsan Mosque, near Chapelfield, have arranged for a minibus each to take part. The party will leave the Theatre Royal at 9am.

Most Read

Jean Thirtle, a senior steward at Unison Norfolk, said: 'We are facing the largest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century and cannot turn our backs on these desperate people.'

In less than an hour, a petition calling for David Cameron to intervene in the situation, received more than 500 signatures.

The convoy is supported by various organisations including Unison, the Muslim Association of Britain, Momentum and Unite.

One of the vehicles scheduled to travel to Calais is a 38-tonne truck.

On the Stand up to Racism website, a statement says: 'The convoy is going to go to Dover whatever happens. We will be calling on all our supporters to turn up in Dover and demand that we are allowed to get on the ferry we have booked and paid for.

'We are calling for a mass protest at this undemocratic and authoritarian decision, we demand that the British government tell the French authorities that this is unacceptable and that we should be allowed free passage.'

A press conference is being held today at the storage facility housing donations. At 11am people will gather at Access Self Storage, in Kings Cross, in London.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter