Can I make an unashamed plea to the Gazette’s readers? ShelterBox Trust is a substantial UK charity which delivers emergency shelter and basic utensils in times of disaster. In the last 10 years we have assisted more than 1.2 million people, saved countless numbers of lives and responded in over 90 different countries. We rely on a huge global network of volunteers to achieve this.

I have the privilege of being not only ShelterBox’s full-time lawyer, but also a response team member, which means that I have the opportunity to work at the frontline and witness just how necessary and effective the work of the charity is.

For the last two months we have been working with the authorities in the countries bordering Syria. Refugees from the repressive and cruel Assad regime are pouring over the borders and the neighbours are totally ill-equipped to deal with the influx. These Syrians have fled their homes empty-handed and are now living in hastily erected camps with no or inadequate shelter. These camps are already a sea of mud and conditions will become increasingly desperate as temperatures fall with winter coming.

We are currently concentrating our efforts on the border with Iraq where 35,000 refugees, many of them children, have amassed. More join them daily.

Could I urge your readers to visit our website to see how we operate and how the generosity of our donors together with the tireless endeavours of our volunteers enable us to bring shelter, warmth and dignity to those in dire need.

Stephen Branfield, ShelterBox Trust, Helston, Cornwall