A TEAM of school friends turn charity fundraisers have returned recently from an aid trip to the border of Turkey and Syria.

The nine-strong group from local charity SKT Welfare raised £95,000 for food parcels to hand over to refugees on the border.

Three former Belle Vue Boys School students were part of the trip, including group leader Shaban Din.

On the ground they handed out 2,100 food parcels to Syrian refugees in numerous camps, all while fasting in temperatures which reached 42 degrees.

Mr Din said: “I was moved by what I witnessed last year and felt it was my moral duty to return and assist the Syrian refugees many of whom are widows and orphans.

“As a father it was painful for me to witness the suffering of the Syrian children in particular.

“We were overwhelmed and touched by what we saw we have all made a commitment to carry on our humanitarian aid work.”

Thousands of Syrian refugees are currently living in camps along the Turkish border with Syria after fleeing the brutal Assad regime.

Prolific humanitarian Nazim Ali was among those who travelled to Turkey as part of the deployment.

He added: “This is was my seventh visit to the region in five years, and I can tell you the situation has not changed.

“I have witnessed first hand families living in partially built homes with no windows or doors, some are living in tents.

“What sticks in my mind and is the reason I go back is when Syrian refugees have said to me, ‘We feel abandoned by the world but you have left your family to help us and that means ever so much to us.’

“So many have lost parents, family members and suffered catastrophic injuries due to the Syrian conflict, I pray and hope there is progress each time I visit but there seems to be no change, just Syrian refugees trying to survive on a day to day basis.”