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Forest Gate mums fundraise and collect donations for survivors of hurricane-ravaged Dominica

PUBLISHED: 13:54 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 18 October 2017

Left to right: Lashana Inglis, Jade Roberts, Natalie Leonna Royer, Antonia Fender.

Left to right: Lashana Inglis, Jade Roberts, Natalie Leonna Royer, Antonia Fender.

Natalie Leonna Royer

Four Forest Gate mothers are fundraising to help relatives and survivors of Hurricane Maria on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

One of the collections was held at Natalie Leonna Royer's aunt's house in East HamOne of the collections was held at Natalie Leonna Royer's aunt's house in East Ham

Natalie Leonna Royer, Lashana Inglis, Jade Roberts and Antonia Fender have organised a family fun day on Saturday at 1pm at St Antony’s Catholic Primary School, Upton Avenue, Forest Gate

Dominica, which featured in location shots for the Pirates of the Caribbean films, was devastated by the category-five storm in September and 27 people - including a cousin of Jade - lost their lives.

One month on, more than 50 people are still missing and Dominica’s population of 72,000 still has little access to food, water, power and basic amenities.

Natalie Leonna, 32, said: “They call it the nature island of the Caribbean. It is full of natural caverns and forestry so it is quite untouched in terms of its authenticity but at the moment it is just ravaged, it just doesn’t look like the same place at all.

Some of the donations are stored safely before being shipped to DominicaSome of the donations are stored safely before being shipped to Dominica

The mum-of-three, who says her relatives on the island are safe, added: “There are still people who haven’t heard from family.

“It is devastating. I cannot even look at pictures [of Dominica] too much.”

In recent weeks, Natalie and the other mums have led efforts to ship donations over to Dominica.

Volunteers amassed bottles of water, water purification tablets, tinned food nappies, clothes and other basic amenities, which have been stored temporarily in donated garage space.

Natalie said: “In one collection, over four hours, we had 16 car loads and four vans. The next day it was 17 car loads and four vans.”

A new shipment is due to take place next week but the team hope to top up their donations from Saturday’s event, which features a raffle, Caribbean food, stalls and a bouncy castle for kids.

“People have been amazing,” Natalie said. “We have been thanking people already on our social media because we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

To show your support or make a donation, follow Relief for Dominica on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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