Coatless Calthrops for #CoatsforSyria

Family shot Coats 4 SyriaHere we are, without our coats on a flipping freezing rather chilly January day.  Yes, we did it, and thanks to 18 generous friends and bloggers, we raised £281.00, a whooping 101% of our target of £280, meaning 20 Syrian children in refugee camps will get a coat this winter. Big whoop!

THANK YOU to all who chipped in.  And thank you to those who I know intend to donate but haven’t yet got round to it.

You are wonderful people, digging deep at possibly the worst time of year – 4 weeks after Christmas, one week before most salaries are paid, credit card bills arrive and a myriad cheques have to be paid for school lunches or clubs.

So, how was the experience I hear you ask?

Er, Cold (nice bit of British understatement)

Waking up to find it a peaky -1 degrees was interesting, but it had been -6 the day before so we felt lucky by comparison.  My kids were, to their own bemusement, relieved it hadn’t snowed. When my son woke with a blocked nose and sore throat I can’t pretend I didn’t do a small sanity check ;-).  But kids are hardy and if they’re not, they soon will be after a bit of un-molly-coddling (sorry, that’s not a word, but you know what I mean!). What we found was you were fine if you kept moving and wore a hat and gloves (was that cheating? Didn’t think so…). I didn’t wear any extra layer of clothing to compensate, honest! The hardest part was getting to school uncharacteristically early and having to stand around the playground for 15 minutes..


As most people knew what we were doing, it was a bit of fun.  My daughter got 3 other friends to join her, raising the amount we will have raised collectively.  We also got to have a laugh at ourselves when friends chirped up “My teenage son could do that everyday – he never wears a coat!” or when my daughter realised that not wearing a coat is an emblem of ‘coolness’  or machismo amongst the boys in her Yr 6 class.


As I said in my previous post, my daughter telling her friends about this and why she’s doing it has prompted all sorts of conversations.  My friend said she ended up having a big conversation about war and the like as her sons kept asking her questions about Syria. As is typical of kids’ timing, this was held over breakfast when she was rushing out the door but she said it was a great conversation to have.  And the headteacher asked my son, daughter and friends to stand up in assembly and tell the whole school what they were doing and why!

My kids got to realise that doing something really small like this clearly has a far wider impact than they might have first expected.  And that it wasn’t just money that was raised.

Slightly weird and a tiny bit liberating

Walking around without a coat as an adult did feel really odd when it was so cold, and with kids without coats on. But this was only for a day. If I did this for a whole week (as one person thought we were doing!) I would start to feel like a bad parent….But not having to stuff a coat into my swimming locker, or chivvy the  kids to put their coats on or do them up was oddly liberating.

A bit of a cheat… how I felt when I got back into a warm car or warm friend’s house/doctors surgery/swimming pool.  If we did this again (my daughter has suggested it!) then I think we would not turn the heating on for the whole day/evening and just have one heater. This is the reality for the refugees who are living in tents and basements/caravans – they do have a heater but have to turn it off at night for fear of fire accidents, as I discovered when I read this article on World Vision UK’s website.

And if you’re wondering why we’re looking so cheerful in that photo, it’s probably something to do with the fact that my husband wasn’t even wearing shoes when we took that photo, with the added novelty of using a ‘selfie stick’ (something my husband likes to deride normally, but came in massive handy that morning – thanks to Annie from Annie QPR for the loan of said useful item ;-).

If you want to donate as you’ve not had the chance, here’s the link:

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