|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
by Andy Davey
A DESPERATE family who fled Zimbabwe with just a handful of suitcases has paid tribute to the generosity of Echo readers.
A week ago the Echo reported how the family's friend Faith Jupp from Highcliffe, pleaded for a Good Samaritan to offer refuge to the family and their four children, aged between four and seven, because she did not have enough room in her flat.
The next day Penny Dicker, 61, from Hurn, telephoned the Echo to say she was so touched by the Main-Baillie's plight she had decided to offer them her three-bedroom flat in Canford Cliffs.
"I just thought one day that could be me and without further ado I got up and telephoned the newspaper," she said.
But she was not the only one as Echo readers from as far away as Scotland jammed the lines with offers of help for the family, including clothing, furniture, crockery, cutlery and cash.
Bruce Main-Baillie said: "It's been quite a traumatic experience, but we're just so grateful for all the incredible support we've received."
The former miner, from Gueru, in Zimbabwe's rural midlands, told how there the family had lived in constant fear and he received regular death threats. He said the family's livelihood was snatched away from them when veterans of the country's war of independence seized its gold mine and they were forced to sell everything they possessed to buy a ticket to the UK.
But Mr Main-Baillie is determined to rebuild his family's shattered life and is already looking for a new job.
"After arriving in the UK me and my wife had the first night of decent sleep in months," he said.
"It feels as if a huge burden has been lifted off our shoulders. We're not concerned about how we're going to make it to the end of the month, even though we had nothing when we arrived."
First published: August 14