Refugees will benefit from city’s donated bikes

Dan Harris of Bicycle Links, with some of the bikes he has collected to take over to the refugees in

Dan Harris of Bicycle Links, with some of the bikes he has collected to take over to the refugees in Calais. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A Norfolk charity worker is to hand over more than 30 bicycles to refugees and aid workers in Calais.

Dan Harris of Bicycle Links, with some of the bikes he has collected to take over to the refugees in

Dan Harris of Bicycle Links, with some of the bikes he has collected to take over to the refugees in Calais. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Dan Harris, of Sprowston Road, Norwich, set up Calais Bicycle Aid to try and increase the mobility of people living in the refugee camps.

In less than a month Mr Harris has received more than 60 bikes and £800 in donations.

The 36-year-old, who travelled to Calais back in August, said: 'I never thought of bikes as being an aid item, but going out there and seeing their lives, you see how it could improve their wellbeing.

'The camp is on the outskirts of the city, and getting to a distribution centre can be a five-mile round trip for some people. When the weather turns horrible, that is going to feel like a very long way.'

Mr Harris plans to leave to Calais on November 11 with a team of three experienced bike mechanics.

Along with the 30 bicycles, they will take 50 inner tubes, tools and spare parts.

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The team plans to spend five days distributing the bikes and teaching people how to keep them well maintained.

And Mr Harris said that as the weather gets worse in the build up to winter they were needed more than ever.

He added: 'On one of the days we were there in August the camp was hit by a massive storm and flooded in no time at all. We saw the reality of what it is going to look like in winter.'

A report from the University of Birmingham earlier this month described conditions in the Calais camp, known as the Jungle, as diabolical.

It found that people were living in tents plagued by rats, water sources contaminated by faeces and inhabitants suffering from various problems including post-traumatic stress.

Mr Harris said he aimed to make another trip to take over the remaining 30 bicycles that have been donated.

To donate visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/calais-bicycle-aid

Have you launched a campaign to help those in need? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.