SOME people were so moved by the plight of migrants in Calais, they traveled to France to donate clothes and food.

Juliet Kilpin, 45, from Westcliff, a member of Avenue Baptist Church and co-ordinator at mission agency Urban Expression, visited the camp with two others.

She went with Matt Dominey, 17, a pupil at Southend High School for Boys, and 20-year-old university student Grace Claydon, from Hawkwell.

They decided to act after becoming increasingly frustrated at the “dehumanisation of migrants trying to find a way into the UK”.

Mrs Kilpin said: “David Cameron made me do it when he described the migrants as a swarm.

“The national media have demonised these people and have stoked fear among the British public, so I wanted to go over myself and see what it is like.

“I put the word out that I was going and 48 hours later we had a car-full of stuff in donations and £1,000 to take over.

“One of our friends had made contact with the grassroots charities and volunteers, so we gave them the clothes and helped form a system to hand out food.

“We took over about 350 packs of biscuits and when they ran out there were still people queuing.

There must have been about 500 there needing food.

“It was very eye-opening – we saw the world in one square mile.

Everyone had heartbreaking stories as to why they were there.”

Matt, who is studying politics, history, sociology and English literature, is a family friend of Mrs Kilpin and shared her views on the situation.

He and Grace, an international development student, wanted to see the crisis at first hand.

He said: “I was aware of the situation, but what struck me the most was the scale of it.

“If there is a war-torn country in the world, then they were represented in Calais.

“They want to make a life for themselves, they were excited by English culture and had a respect for it.”

Matt Dominey, 17, of Cranleigh Road, Westcliff, is a pupil at Southend High School for Boys and joined the mission to Calais to comfort the migrants seeking to get to the UK. This was his reaction to what he saw...

I NEVER expected to find a humanitarian crisis of such scale so close to home.

With 4,000 people struggling to survive in a wasteland of tarpaulin shacks and crumpled tents, the Calais refugee camp is certainly not a vignette of normal European life.

The stories I heard as we distributed food, while different in detail, all followed a similar narrative: fleeing war-torn countries, these refugees longed for education and stability.

They had sometimes trekked thousands of miles, often through treacherous conditions, just for a glimpse of the border that gives them hope.

Yet, despite their experiences, individuals were filled with a sense of creativity and optimism I never expected.

For example, a makeshift school teaching French and English was still full long after the lessons had finished.

When a man told me, “our skin may be different colours, but we are all one blood”, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed by the demonising rhetoric being used by some back home against the hundreds of people I met.

Britain won’t have them, France doesn’t want them, and the world ignores them. The least I could do was help.