OVER £1,000 was raised to help those devastated by the Turkey Syria earthquake thanks to a fundraising dinner in Basingstoke. 

The event was organised by the Christian Muslim Dialogue Group and took place on March 16 at St Mary's Church Hall.

Among the 45 diners were the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Paul Miller and the Mayoress Sandra Miller. 

Introducing the evening, John Hayward spoke of the group that meets monthly to discuss passages from their holy books, identifying where they agreed and where there were differences in understanding God and the world.

He added that the group's purpose for the evening was to host an enjoyable time with good food, where people would be informed of the situation in the earthquake area, and to donate towards relieving the suffering there. Food for the event had been cooked by members of the Christian and Muslim communities in Basingstoke.

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Fuat Anat, from the Fellowship Education Society, spoke of the deaths and destruction resulting from the early morning earthquake on February 5. He spoke of many people now living in Basingstoke who had come from that area and lost family members and friends. One family in Basingstoke had lost 36 members.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The society is aiming to raise £45,000 to support families for the next six months and a considerable portion of that had already been raised by various fundraising events and sales in the last six weeks.

During the event, there was a minute's silence for those lost and all who were suffering in different ways as a result of the earthquake. 

The situation in Syria was equally bad according to Prasad Phillips from Barnabas Aid. Barnabas Aid works through local partners in both countries. Prasad said the priority was to provide clean water, food, bedding and clothes to people. He showed pictures of the devastation and also interviews with people who had been caught up in the earthquake.

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The evening finished with Cllr Miller commenting on the enthusiastic social interaction there had been during the evening and the challenges of the information that had been shared by the speakers and those who knew the area affected.

He expressed his sorrow at the number of people living in the borough whose family and friends had been affected by the earthquake.

Over £1,000 was raised and donated to charity.