Girl, nine, vows to walk 22 miles to help refugees win right to live in Scotland

Lucy Johnstone packed bags of warm clothes for children from Afghanistan.

Lucy Johnstone
Lucy Johnstone

A nine-year-old girl is to walk 22 miles in an effort to help refugees gain the legal right to live in Scotland.

Lucy Johnstone, from Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, is taking part in the British Red Cross Miles for Refugees fundraising campaign.

Money raised will help people through the asylum application process and prevent them from falling into poverty.

She said she was inspired to help after reading the graphic novel, When Stars Are Scattered, by former refugee Omar Mohamed.

She said: “(Omar was) just a kid like me when he and his younger brother Hassan went to live in a refugee camp in Kenya. I then learnt more about refugees all over the world and I really want to help them.”

Lucy Johnstone
Lucy Johnstone prepared bags of her own clothes for refugee children (British Red Cross/PA)

As well as her fundraising efforts, Lucy has prepared bags of her own clothes for three children arriving from Afghanistan, saying she is worried they will be surprised by Scotland’s chilly weather.

“It’s got a dressing gown in there in case they get cold,” she said.

Recent polling conducted for the British Red Cross by Opinium found the crisis in Afghanistan has made almost two fifths (38%) of Scots more sympathetic towards refugees.

The research also shows 50% of Scots would welcome refugees into the area they live in, and over a third (36%) would personally want to help.

Marie Hayes, Scotland director at the British Red Cross, said: “The British Red Cross is calling for a kinder, more compassionate asylum system to support people who have been forced to leave their home behind and take dangerous journeys. We believe every refugee matters.

“Clearly, the impact of Afghanistan has had a big impact on Scots. I’m delighted to be seeing so many eager to help refugees personally. By taking part in Miles for Refugees, you can show the very best of humankind.”

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