HeadLine: THE FLIGHT OF LIFE
Daily Record, 07/04/1999, p26&27
by SHAUN MILNE
THE whole of Scotland is rallying round to help the Daily Record send
a mercy flight of aid to the Kosovar refugees.
And it’s a jumbo-sized job because Scottish Charities have managed to
get hold of one of the biggest aircraft in the world.
We’ll be using a Russian made Ilyshin 76 cargo plane which is capable
of taking 43 tons.
Scottish Charities and John Boyle of Direct Holidays found the giant
plane after a worldwide search.
And they are already trying to track down a second passenger plane to
help the huge Scottish airlift get even bigger.
So the message is – keep the aid coming!
Clothes, food and blankets are already flooding into Kwik-Fit tyre
and exhaust centres around the country.
Their call centres last night smashed the £143,000 mark in
credit card donations from the public.
The Record contacted several top companies and have got pledges from
firms like Mackays Stores, Woolworths, C&A, Stakis and ASDA.
Staff have also been working flat out at Kwik-Fit tyre and exhaust
centres, packing donations into boxes and trucks to take to warehouses
around the country where they will be sorted out in time for the plane.
Sir Tom Farmer said: “I am thrilled by the most astonishing response
from the Scottish public who have acted with such enormous warmth.
“We got so much donated to our centres it initially caused great
logistical problems, but when we linked with the Daily Record and TNT
Newsfast the problem was solved.
“The response has been amazing. Since we launched the scheme there
has been a steady stream of people coming into our centres throughout
Scotland and the UK bringing donations and handing over cheques to help the Kosovan refugees.
“We are all very grateful,” he added.
General manager of TNT Newsfast Terry Bradley said: “At first we
thought we would just be taking a pallet or two here and there.
“But we’ve taken 10 articulated lorries worth of stuff out of
Edinburgh today alone. We’ve got a warehouse in Uddingston jam-packed
and really we are still desperate for space.
“What we need is for some business to come up with warehouse in
Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, so we have somewhere to go so we can
prevent a log jam.”
The mass of aid flooding in has delighted charity leaders and also
Labour MP Nigel Griffiths, who has been instrumental in helping
co-ordinate the relief effort.
He said: “I think this is the voice of the Scottish people opposing a
dictator and pulling out all the stops to ensure that his victims are
made as safe and comfortable as possible. It is a fantastic effort in a very short space of time.”
The public are rising to the appeal challenge, but so are the
enterprising Scottish business community. On hearing about the refugee
appeal Mackays Stores immediately agreed to help.
They are supplying 20 crates packed with clothes which are badly
needed, mainly for women and children. They also donated a £5000
cheque to the appeal fund.
A spokesman said: “Everybody has been touched by the pictures of
refugees on TV and in the newspapers and clearly we wanted to do
something to help.”
Woolworths have also agreed to give boxes of children’s clothes along
with C&A, and Index.
ASDA are to donate clothing from their George collection and all the
goods returned to their stores over the next week.
Scottish knitwear firms like Maddy Moss Ltd in Alva, Clackmannanshire, and S&J Textiles in Glasgow are putting together boxes of clothes to be loaded on
the mercy flight leaving this weekend.
Pots, pans and cutlery are in very short supply and Crockets, of
Glasgow, and Wilson, Watson, McVinnie Ltd have agreed to give all they
can in time for the Ilyshin leaving Scotland.
Alistair Crocket, of Crockets, said: “We’ll give pots, pans, buckets,
cutlery, stainless steel flasks, all that kind of thing.
“We’ve also asked our main suppliers and we will be collecting stuff
from them, so we should have a pretty large amount.”
Slater Menswear are giving 100 jackets to the cause while Ensign
Motif will supply the same amount in bodywarmers.
Yesterday, Soapworks, a subsidiary of The Body Shop, stepped forward
with 15,000 bars of soap to help the crisis.
Offers of tents are beginning to come in with Blacks Leisure coming
up with two massive dining tents to be used as shelter for those
stranded out in the open.
Stakis are donating masses of bed linen from their 15 Scottish
hotels, and they have persuaded Fishers of Cupar, Fife, who supply
them, to do the same.
Allied Bakers are pledging to rush 40 box loads of long-life bread to
the plane before its departure and Tunnocks say they will give two
boxes of caramel wafers and tea-cakes.
Scottish Charities – the umbrella organisation co-ordinating the
appeal – have appealed for an army of volunteers to help with the
They also want people with managerial skills interested in helping
Denis Rutovitz, of Edinburgh Direct Aid, said: “The hours are long
and hard, the salary is zero, but the rewards are great.”
Another problem they face is finding space for the volunteers to do
the work, although there is a chance of empty supermarkets in Edinburgh
and Glasgow being opened for use.
The first of the road convoys of aid left from Edinburgh last night.
The mercy flight will follow this weekend.