Friends team up for online auction to help Afghan refugees

TWO friends joined forces to hold an online auction to benefit Afghan refugees after being moved by scenes of violence and tragedy amid the Taliban takeover of the country.

Award-winning photographer and stylist Amanda Farnese Heath lives with her 36-year-old partner Simon Heath, composer and designer, at Seacliff.

She got together with a friend Debbie Shinton – a freelance advertising account manager who lives on St Andrew Street in North Berwick with her husband Jonathan and children Annie and Rhys – to start an online auction to raise funds for Choose Love.

Choose Love – formerly Help Refugees – provides humanitarian aid and advocacy for refugees around the world.

Debbie and Amanda felt “desperate” after watching reports from Afghanistan and decided to raise funds through an online auction consisting of prizes from local businesses to support projects providing aid and donations. services to Afghans and refugees.

Earlier this month, Amanda and Debbie sent out donation requests in and around East Lothian.

They were blown away by the “really big Scottish response”.

They said: ‘From dinners showcasing the best of Scottish cuisine to private chefs, from tree-lined accommodation to vintage motorhomes, from massages to yoga classes, bespoke jewelry and handmade chocolate, what has been amazing is that the majority of those who have donated are small businesses or male / female operations.

“They’ve been through their toughest times lately and are just getting back on their feet, but are willing to donate to help others who they know are struggling.

“It’s a true reflection of the Scottish mentality and something to be proud of.”

Amanda and Debbie are encouraging East Lothian residents to get involved ahead of their launch on Saturday, when more than 70 auctions go live for auction.

The duo added, “For those who bid, it’s a double reward. Not only do they take advantage of the incredible luxury auction lots on offer, but the money spent will go to Choose Love, who works hard to locate and co – coordinate the evacuation of people at risk in Afghanistan, supporting the medical organizations working there and providing immediate support to people seeking safety.

“I hope that together we can make a little difference.”

Scotland Chooses Love t-shirts are also available to order from Nørden on North Berwick High Street.

T-shirts cost £ 15, with all money going to Choose Love.

To view all the pieces up for auction, to bid or to donate, visit

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