Mavi Marmara is sailing on wheels from UK to Gaza

“Mavi Marmara” Leaving Bristol to Gaza

Bristol:  Local campaigners have raised funds for a mini-bus which is leaving Bristol this Friday as part of a UK Aid Convoy bound for Gaza. The vehicle is carrying children’s educational equipment and toys, IT equipment, and medical equipment donated by a local hospital.

{jcomments on} The mini-bus will be driven by two Bristol people:- Keith Darkin, a retired architectural technician from Montpelier . Keith was a driver on the “Roads to Hope” convoy which reached Gaza in 2010, and Sakir Yildirm, who runs a Kebab business in Fishponds. Following operation Cast-Lead Sakir drove an ambulance Gaza in 2009. Less than a year later he was at the wheel of a giant articulated lorry heading a convoy from Bristol with locally collected aid for the people of Gaza . 

Sakir, who is Turkish in origin, has named the mini-bus “Mavi Marmara” in commemoration of his third attempt to reach Gaza . In 2010 Sakir and another Bristol man, artist Cliff Hanley, came within inches of death when Israeli commandos attacked and boarded the Turkish aid ship killing nine people and injuring scores more. The mini-bus will be decorated with the insignia of the ship together with names of the victims. 

Sakir, Keith, and a small team of friends in Bristol have raised money for the trip by collecting donations from friends, family, mosques and charities. Two thousand pounds have been raised to buy the mini-bus and to pay for the costs of the journey.

Tomorrow, Friday 22nd February, there will be a grand send-off for the Bristol mini-bus on its way to Gaza at 2pm outside the Turkish Mosque & Community Centre, 272 Gloucester Road , BRISTOL BS7 8PD (just past the “top” Sainsbury mini supermarket) ..Map

Supporters got ready to see the volunteers off by banners, placards, flags, whistles and musical instruments.

The Bristol mini-bus will be joining about a dozen other vehicles and thirty people from the UK forming the Gaza-Aid-Convoy FFI see They will be leaving London over the weekend, driving south through France and Spain, crossing to North Africa and travelling through Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and finally crossing Egypt to reach the Rafah crossing into Gaza. The whole trip is expected to take about two weeks, but past experience shows delays are always possible.

If you want to read what has been written on the bus just click on the photo.

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