Five hundred people converged on Woodgreen Hall on Saturday for a fundraising dinner to provide humanitarian aid in conflict-sticken Gaza.
The dinner, organised by the Banbury-based Al Madina charity welcomed guest speakers – Olympic boxer and children’s charity worker Amir Khan and Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist and Respect Party activist who was captured by the Taliban in 2001 and converted to Islam after her release.
The group Shaam provided musical entertainment and the event, which provided three-courses of Pakistani cuisine, raised £76,000 for direct aid projects in Gaza. A further £4,000 has been raised through an online donation page.
One of the charity organisers, Haleema Habibi, said the charity would be repeating efforts of last year when it sent out to Gaza three relief workers who undertook community work. This time they will be working on the ground with agencies helping the relief operations in Gaza.
“They will be working to provide humanitarian aid to all kinds of people affected by the conflict, many of whom have lost their homes and need the bare essentials to start again,” she said.
“Al Madina was set up about seven years ago and has done valuable work in Pakistan and Gaza.”
A candlelit vigil was also held in the town centre on Sunday night to remember those who had died in Gaza.