A delegation of generous fundraisers from a West Yorkshire voluntary organisation travelled more than 200 miles last weekend to deliver vital funding to the flood-hit area of Somerset.
The Batley-based Indian Muslim Welfare Society (IMWS), made the long trip south, as they presented a cheque of £16,000 to the Somerset Community Foundation flood appeal fund.
After seeing pictures of the floods through the media, the group began fundraising in mosques throughout Batley, Dewsbury and Huddersfield, and within a couple of weeks, had already raised more than £10,000.
Chairman of IMWS, Mohamed Mulla, explained why the group were so determined to help out and how delighted he was to see interfaith relations.
“Although there may not be any connection between the Indian Muslim Welfare Society and Somerset, we have the connection of humanity and that is why we knew we had to help,” he said.
“We saw pictures of homes which had been flooded and decided we must do something to help.
“It was through working with the Somerset Community Foundation that we actually got involved with the fundraising efforts and the work alongside the Bishop of Taunton.”
The group presented the £16,000 cheque to the foundation before being taken on a tour of the affected areas, starting with the church in Muchelney, which acted as the central hub for the flood relief effort, before moving on to Burrowbridge.
The Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice, welcomed the IMWS to the long-marooned Somerset village after meeting them in Thorney.
“This is such a wonderful gesture of solidarity from one community to another,” he said.
“It’s heartening to find that rural communities in distress in Somerset are getting support from Muslim communities in Yorkshire.
“We’re very grateful to the Indian Muslim Welfare Society and to all the individuals who have generously contributed to the collection. We are deeply grateful for their expression of kindness, compassion and care for those affected by the flooding.”
The group also met Rita Dobson, a resident in Taunton whose home has been flooded twice already this year, in January and February.
Ms Dobson said it was lovely to meet a group who were simply raising funds due to the goodness of their hearts.
“It is really nice to meet some people who genuinely care,” she said. “It’s not politically motivated or anything like that, it’s just the generosity of the heart, it does get you quite emotional really.
“When you’re living in a quite sad looking house at the moment, just little things like this can make a huge difference. My spirit has been lifted today.”
The IMWS have prided themselves on helping disasters both close to home and elsewhere in the world. In 2009, they raised thousands for the Cumbrian flood victims and have also raised much more for the tsunami relief work in 2004.