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‘Fair Begins Here’ in Hay Castle

note the beautiful orange heart bunting made by Virginia and the kites made by Annie

What an amazing day! On 13th February 2024, HBTSR held a day of activities at Hay Castle to draw attention to the campaign for fair, kind asylum laws. Heart cards, heart shaped corn dollies, banners with messages of peace and paper planes were made. The show piece was a hand -bound book made by Rebound Books , composed of many of the Parliamentary bills recently passed about people seeking sanctuary. This beautiful book was signed by people visiting Hay Castle complete with messages of support and the pages folded to form a heart shape. The book will go to a few of the local schools of Sanctuary to be completed and then will be on display in Hay Castle.

A prototype version of the heart shaped book

Book made by Rebound Books that is being made into a heart

even the coffee is heart shaped

a willow heart and paper flower. Lots of lucky Valentines tomorrow!

Anna signing the book

Over 100 people of all ages  visited The Great Hall in Hay Castle  and joined in with the activities. . From our side, we had Annie from Llantwit Major who made  willow hearts and flowers, Matt from Llandovery who made the banners for children to draw on,  Rev Anna who oversaw the event,  arranged for Rebound books to make up the book of parliamentary bills, generally welcomed and enthused people and was all round marvellous. Rowland who made the paper planes [ a few years ago he sent one every day for several weeks to Fay Jones to try to persuade her to vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill] Harriet who made  cards, Rachel who made the corn dollies, Anna’s niece Emily who marked up the heart book and made the first few folds before returning to Caerphilly, Claire, Lynne, Philip and Lawrence who helped to welcome people and share information. Michael took photos of the event.. And all thanks are due to Mari Fforde who gave permission for us to use the Great Hall .

Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees are members of a coalition ‘Together with Refugees’. This coalition is made up of about 500 grassroots community and refugee-led groups, international development charities, trade unions and faith groups. The one thing that unites us all is : Belief in showing compassion for people fleeing war and persecution. The symbol used by the coalition is an orange heart. The heart symbolises compassion and the colour orange represents hope and the colour of Life jackets.
Together with Refugees Coalition are calling for a better approach to supporting refugees that is effective, fair and humane.
Over the last few years HBTSR have drawn attention to the need for better treatment for people seeking sanctuary with a number of stunts including circling St Mary’s Church in Brecon with a string of orange hearts, flying orange heart flags from prominent buildings and flying paper heart shaped airplanes outside Y Gaer and Hay Castle.  [ see past news stories for details]

Rev Anna Bessant who planned the activities with HBTSR said ‘we wanted to turn pages from the Nationality and Borders bill and the Safety of Rwanda Bill into a thing of beauty and love. We hope all politicians will see this message and reflect upon it. Local people are kind and generous and help people who are less fortunate than themselves.’

Thanks to Hay Castle people for the warm welcome and support. Thanks to Rebound Books for the beautiful book of bills. Thanks to all the people who joined with us and thanks to Virginia for the beautiful new orange heart bunting.

Friday 16th Ailsa and Lawrence visited Swansea asylum seekers support group (SASS) and gave the strings of  heart shaped planes to them. The planes  will be used to decorate at a special church service and a bring and share lunch next week and then given to children and others so that they know how welcome they are!

Photos below show some of the activities and people involved

you can also read more about this  at