Sikh volunteers and local football club deliver meals to stranded lorry drivers

Sikh volunteers and local football club deliver meals to stranded lorry drivers

A group of Sikh volunteers and a local football club have sourced hundreds of meals for lorry drivers stuck in Kent.

More than 2,800 HGVs were stranded on Tuesday as a result of a French ban on travel into France over fears of a more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Volunteers from Khalsa Aid, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, travelled over 80 miles to help provide more than 800 meals to the truckers – with some of the group's Langar Aid members travelling more than 150 miles from Coventry.

Fellow Sikhs from Guru Nanak Temple, a gurdwara in Gravesend, helped to cook the meals before the volunteers were given a Kent Police escort along the M20 to deliver them.

"Everyone's working together to feed the drivers... it's been an amazing day and we are immensely proud," Ravi Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid, told the PA news agency from the M20 on Tuesday evening.

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Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police officers form a cordon at the entrance to the port in Dover, in Kent, south east England on December 23, 2020, after the UK and France agreed a protocol to reopen the border to accompanied freight arriving in France from the UK. - France and Britain reopened cross-border travel after a snap 48-hour ban to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant threatened UK supply chains. Accompanied frieght will now be allowed to cross the channel from the port of Dover but all lorry drivers will require a lateral flow test and a negative Covid-19 result before the travel. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Hauliers protesting outside the Port of Dover in Kent, after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban has been lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
DOVER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Travellers to Europe are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover on December 23, 2020 in Dover, United Kingdom. Nearly 3,000 lorries were stranded around Kent after France banned all travel from the UK on Sunday, citing concerns over a new variant of covid-19. Late Tuesday, the countries reached a deal to restart freight travel for drivers with a recent negative covid-19 test. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Drivers stand in the road as freight lorries and goods vehicles queue on a closed section of the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover, near Ashford in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after a string of countries banned travel including accompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on December 20 it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
DOVER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Travellers to Europe are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover on December 23, 2020 in Dover, United Kingdom. Nearly 3,000 lorries were stranded around Kent after France banned all travel from the UK on Sunday, citing concerns over a new variant of covid-19. Late Tuesday, the countries reached a deal to restart freight travel for drivers with a recent negative covid-19 test. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
A sign informs drivers that the French border crossing is closed at the cordoned entrance to the ferry terminal at the Port of Dover in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Lanes for frieght lorries are empty at the entrance to the closed ferry terminal at the Port of Dover in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Freight lorries are seen parked at Dover Marina in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, adjacent to the Port of Dover as queuing trucks wait to continue their journeys after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Turkish long-haul truck drivers sit down to breakfast at a truck stop off the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover, near Ashford in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, as they queue unable to continue their journeys after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Freight lorries are seen parked at Dover Marina in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, adjacent to the Port of Dover as queuing trucks wait to continue their journeys after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A police car patrols the stacks of freight lorries and goods vehicles queuing on a closed section of the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover, near Ashford in Kent, south east England at sunrise on December 22, 2020, after a string of countries banned travel including accompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on December 20 it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A police car patrols along the stacks of Freight lorries and goods vehicles queuing on a closed section of the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover, near Ashford in Kent, south east England at sunrise on December 22, 2020, after a string of countries banned travel including accompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on December 20 it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Drivers are seen in the road as freight lorries and goods vehicles queue on a closed section of the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover, near Ashford in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after a string of countries banned travel including accompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on December 20 it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Local traffic drives on an empty A20, the main route into Dover in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, as queuing trucks are organised and 'stacked' on the M20 and elsewhere waiting to continue their journeys after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign informs drivers that the French border crossing is closed at the cordoned entrance to the ferry terminal at the Port of Dover in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign informs drivers that the French border crossing is closed at the cordoned entrance to the ferry terminal at the Port of Dover in Kent, south east England on December 22, 2020, after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strain. - Britain sought to sound a note of calm saying they were working as fast as possible to unblock trade across the Channel after France shut its borders to UK hauliers in a bid to contain a new variant of the coronavirus. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police block the exit from the Port of Dover in Kent, after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban has been lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Drivers stand in the road by their vehicles as they queue trying to enter the port of Dover in Kent, south east England, on December 23, 2020, that is still cordoned after the UK and France agreed a protocol to reopen the border to accompanied freight arriving in France from the UK requiring all lorry drivers to show a negative Covid-19 test. - France and Britain reopened cross-border travel after a snap 48-hour ban to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant threatened UK supply chains. Accompanied frieght will now be allowed to cross the channel from the port of Dover but all lorry drivers will require a lateral flow test and a negative Covid-19 result before the travel. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Drivers and their vehicles queue trying to enter the port of Dover, in Kent, south east England on December 23, 2020, after the UK and France agreed a protocol to reopen the border to accompanied freight arriving in France from the UK. - France and Britain reopened cross-border travel after a snap 48-hour ban to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant threatened UK supply chains. Accompanied frieght will now be allowed to cross the channel from the port of Dover but all lorry drivers will require a lateral flow test and a negative Covid-19 result before the travel. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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"From tomorrow it's two days away from Christmas and these drivers don't know if they're going to be home or not.

"It's horrible for them, there's nothing here – no food, no shops – it's like a prison for them. We can't sit back and do nothing."

Mr Singh said the drivers received the meals with smiles but added that an urgent solution is needed to the deadlock.

French authorities have announced travel will be allowed to resume on Wednesday, but those seeking continue their journey must have a negative test result.

Asked what message has been spread by his group's generosity, Mr Singh said: "We've all had a very tough year but people haven't stopped giving or sharing."

Ramsgate Football Club also provided meals, delivering 200 pizzas to drivers stranded on the motorway.

"We are a community club and we want anyone in the community or who passes through to know we will always look after them," James Lawson, the club's chairman, told PA.

"It's a very difficult situation... everyone wants to be home at Christmas with their families, many seemed young, so we wanted to spread what cheer we could."

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