WHEN the Gaza Girl Group organised a fundraiser for the Middle East conflict’s victims they never expected to raise enough to pay for three ambulances.

But on Friday night at Broad-green Community Centre that is exactly what the group of nine women did when they raised more than £3,000 for the humanitarian aid effort.

After weeks of conflict between the Israeli and Palestinain authorities over the narrow 139 square mile stretch of land known as the Gaza Strip, Dina Amawi had had enough of watching babies being orphaned and families fleeing the shells of their homes.

So the 20-year-old of Plymouth Street called upon some of her friends to help support the victims of war and arranged for an evening of stalls, actvities and a three-course meal for an entry price of just £5.

She said: “The community centre was just packed. There was no room to sit and eat but they just kept coming in. I’d say there were at least 300 people who came along.

“People were so generous too, the entrance fee was £5 but people were handing in £20 notes and telling us to keep the change.

“We never expected to raise so much money. We were only expecting about 50 or 70 people, so we were really overwhelmed by the numbers of people who came along.”

Visitors could browse a number of stalls selling a variety of different wares, including loom bands, sweet cones, t-shirts, jewellery, clothes, shoes and other treats.

They could also take part in an auction, with top prizes including a selection of designer clothing.

As well as this, people who visited could enjoy the food contributed from curry houses and food outlets around the town, includig the Khyber, Biplop, Lalbagh, Newroz, Barakah and Tennessee Chicken.

Other contributions were made from local businesses and stores, including the Co-Op and Selma’s in Euclid Street.

Dina said: “Everyone was so generous with their time.

“A lot of people who couldn’t donate things to the stalls or the food still gave money, and we just want to say a huge thank you to all the restauants and local shops that helped to make it possible.”

Despite exeeding all their own expectations, the group – which includes women who orignally come from Palestine – still believes there is more to be done to ease the terror which the victims face.

For the Gaza Girls the success of the fundraiser was all the more important since it came during the month of Ramadan, which many of them are observing, the month of fasting and of charity.

But despite sharing a religion with many of the victims of the Gaza conflict, their wishes to support the humanitarian aid had nothing to do with religion or politics.

Dina said: “What was overwhelming is just how many people came from all sorts of different backgrounds and cultures.

“Goans, Somalis, Polish – everyone came and it really showed that this isn’t just a cause for Muslims.

“It’s a humanitarian cause which everybody needs to get behind and support.

“This wasn’t about politics or religion, it’s about women, children and families being torn apart and needing our help.”

The Ummah Trust says 100 per cent of donations made to them go towards providing specialist aid to the victims of war.

To find out more about them and find out how you can give to the cause, visit www.uwt.org.