The Norwich schoolgirl offering a helping hand to refugees

Lilly Beaman, who travelled to Greece to help refugees after she saw the awful images of the three y

Lilly Beaman, who travelled to Greece to help refugees after she saw the awful images of the three year old boy washed up on the beach. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The image that broke the hearts of millions of people across the globe inspired a little girl to travel to Greece and help the hungry.

A paramilitary police officer carries the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, after a number of migrants died wh

A paramilitary police officer carries the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, after a number of migrants died when boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum on Sept. 2, 2015. - Credit: AP

When Lilly Beaman, six, from Earlham, saw the image of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach on the news, she turned to her mother and father and said: 'That could have been my brother, I want to help those children.'

Her parents Antony and Tsveta Beaman began looking into how their determined daughter could make a difference.

As the refugee crisis continued, Lilly and her mother made plans to travel to a refugee camp in Greece on Monday, October 19, where hungry families were surprised to see that the pair had travelled all the way from England to help.

Mrs Beaman said around 1,500 people arrived at the camp in Athens – which only has room for 700 – in a single day. Surrounded by tall metal walls and guarded by police, the facility is run entirely by volunteers from across the globe.

Little girl from Norwich helps children in Greek refuge centre

Little girl from Norwich helps children in Greek refuge centre - Credit: Archant

Lily said: 'We had to walk a long way to the camp and there were lots of children. Some didn't have mums and dads and didn't even have anything to play with. We showed them how to skip and colour and write 'hello'.

'The next day we went to another camp and it made me feel really sad because they didn't even have anything to eat or drink.'

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The Norwich Primary Academy pupil spent her three days in Greece making friends, playing with children and handing out goody bags full of sweets, toys and skipping ropes. She even offered a helping hand in the kitchen.

Mrs Beaman said: 'We blew up some balloons which turned out to be a huge mistake. The children were delighted but as soon as the balloons started to pop the mums were visibly shaken, explaining with hand gestures that the sound was like the sound of bombs.

'There was a nine-year-old girl travelling with her aunt and grandmother who attached herself to Lilly. One of the women told me that the girl's mum and siblings had died but she wasn't told because they feared that she would not want to leave. They didn't know where her father was as they got separated in Turkey.'

Many people supported the family's decision to take their six-year-old to a refugee camp, but many also disagreed.

Mrs Beaman said: 'It was more about fostering Lilly's childlike, naive, pure and human reaction to help.

'It was about doing the moral and human thing she wanted to do at six years old, now, before she turns into a rational adult and her pure desire to help someone in need turns into an internal battle between heart and head.'

If you have a story about someone helping those in need, email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk