Vigil held in Chesterfield to remember 27 people who drowned in English Channel

Around 50 residents came together in Chesterfield town centre to remember the 27 people who drowned trying to cross the English Channel last week.

Chesterfield people came together to remember the 27 who died trying to cross the English Channel.
Chesterfield people came together to remember the 27 who died trying to cross the English Channel.

In the deadliest crossing on record, 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children lost their lives on Wednesday.

Chesterfield Stand Up To Racism organised a vigil by the Christmas tree in New Square on Friday to hold a minute’s silence in memory of those who died and to show sympathy and solidarity with their loved ones.

Signs at the vigil declared 'refugees welcome, don't let them drown'.

Jeannie Robinson, of Stand up Racism, said: “Britain, France and the EU have made it so difficult to get into Britain to claim asylum that people are forced into flimsy boats on dangerous seas.

“The Government’s Borders Bill will not help the situation.

“The right to apply for refugee status will be available only for tiny numbers on ‘official’ programmes.

“This will not meet the needs of the many people fleeing war and persecution, who have rights under international law to come here.

“We need systems which allow safe passage.”

Barbara Sansome, from the North Debyshire Refugee Support Group, explained that they are collecting donations of warm clothes and toiletries for Care4Calais and preparing for Afghan refugees who will be settling in north Derbyshire soon. Email [email protected] to get involved.

Tweeting after the vigil, Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Things have to change. It’s difficult but not impossible to change.”

Boris Johnson said he had written to French President Emmanuel Macron setting out five steps to ‘move further and faster’ to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

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