Since 2012, a charity set up by a group of four friends has been working tirelessly to support the work of medical staff in the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria, by providing emergency medical care for the innocent casualties of the civil war.
The charity they formed; Singing for Syrians, brings together people from a host of different backgrounds in order to raise money to pay for medical supplies and staff salaries.
Along with a number of my colleagues in Parliament, I am delighted to be able to pledge my support to this charity and, where I can, participate in their performances.
Having visited very deprived and battle-scarred regions overseas when I served as a Shadow International Development Secretary, I have seen first-hand the selfless and inspiring work that is carried out in the defence and care of those who get caught up in violence.
This year, Singing for Syrian’s organised for 40 professional singers to serenade Chiltern Line commuters with a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus during rush hour at Marylebone Rail Station, and a choir of Parliamentarians in which I sing, perform a concert at St Margaret’s Church, which sits adjacent to Westminster Abbey.
Through these events over £30,000 was raised, but still we must face facts. For the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by war in the Middle East, it will take much more than ad hoc charitable donations to resolve this issue. Instead there must be a real willingness to help persecuted minorities to rebuild their homes and lives in countries like Syria, in which we intervened and now have a responsibility to help.
So let’s hope and pray that in 2018 the message of Christmas; that of a tiny baby whom was forced also to flee persecution in his mother’s arms, may inspire us all to play our part in bringing about a real and lasting peace.
Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP