Kent’s Sikh community has mobilised to help stranded lorry drivers

January 7, 2021
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Christmas is the time of giving, regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday it would seem.

The closure of the French borders has caused a detrimental effect on the roads in Kent, with lorries stacked on the coastbound stretch of the M20.

Scores of lorries have also been parked up at Manston Airport.

More than 24 hours on, there are still hundreds of lorry drivers scattered across Kent – and many are wondering if they’ll get moving again before Christmas Day.

The Road Haulage Association has said that drivers were only offered one cereal bar for sustenance yesterday (December 21), and has said Kent County Council has delivered a “pretty poor effort” in terms of maintaining their morale and spirits.

And with no immediate end to the crisis in sight, Kent’s Sikh community has decided to offer free hot meals to those drivers that face the prospect of Christmas in their trailers.

At least 1,500 lorries are currently parked up and are unable to get back to Europe after France ordered a total border shutdown due to the new strain of coronavirus in the UK.

While many of the lorries are now parked at Manston airport, where there are said to be food vans, there are some that remain on the side of the M20 where access to supplies is in short supply.

With this in mind Gravesend’s Sikh community has come together at the Guru Nanak Darbar temple to provide 800 free meals for stranded drivers.

Working with Sikh humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid, the Sikh cohort organised a police escort to deliver the piping hot meals.

The charitable actions have not gone unnoticed by the public, who have come out on social media to thank them.

One man named Terry wrote: “The Sikhs are the pride of Britain. You always were and you always will be!”

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Another person named Jenn wrote: “You guys are just the best, thank you for always being there in times of need.”

In response to criticism by the Road Haulage Association, Kent County Council has said that it remains important for drivers to avoid Kent.

A spokesman for Kent County Council, the authority responsible for driver welfare, said: “With the help of Kent Resilience Forum agencies, we were able to give out snacks and drinking water through Monday ahead of drivers being able to access welfare facilities at Manston as part Operation Brock planning.

“Though hauliers are routinely well prepared for disruption, while French borders remain closed it remains important that people avoid travelling to Kent.”

Story Source: https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/operation-brock-kents-sikh-community-4825064

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