Volunteers from the Sikh community and a local football club have come together to provide meals for the thousands of lorry drivers stranded in Kent.
Travel to France from the UK was temporarily halted due to the quickly-spreading new mutated strain of Covid. Although the UK and French governments agreed for air, rail and sea services to be able to resume from Wednesday morning (23 Dec), drivers are still stuck in Dover.
Those travelling for urgent reasons - including hauliers, British citizens with French residency, and French residents - will need to have received a negative coronavirus test result fewer than 72 hours before they are due to depart.
However, people from both the local community and further afield, came together to make sure that the stranded drivers didn’t go hungry.
‘Everyone’s working together to feed the drivers’
Some drivers have been sleeping in their cabs for a few days now, with limited access to amenities, but members of the public teamed up to make sure that the drivers were fed.
The nearby Ramsgate Football Club delivered 200 pizzas to drivers stranded on the M20 motorway, as they wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer.
Chairman of the club, James Lawson, said, “We are a community club and we want anyone in the community or who passes through to know we will always look after them.
“It’s a very difficult situation… everyone wants to be home at Christmas with their families, many seemed young, so we wanted to spread what cheer we could.”
Volunteers from Khalsa Aid, located over 80 miles away in Maidenhead, Berkshire, travelled to Kent to help provide more than 800 meals to the drivers. Some of the group’s Langar Aid members also travelled more than 150 miles from Coventry to help feed the drivers.
Sikhs from Guru Nanak Temple, Gravesend, helped to prepare and cook the meals before the volunteers were given a Kent Police escort along the M20 to deliver them.
Ravi Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid, said, “Everyone’s working together to feed the drivers… it’s been an amazing day and we are immensely proud.
“From tomorrow it’s two days away from Christmas and these drivers don’t know if they’re going to be home or not.
“It’s horrible for them, there’s nothing here - no food, no shops - it’s like a prison for them. We can’t sit back and do nothing.”