A Palestinian journalist who has lost 21 members of his family based in Gaza was a special guest at a Swindon fundraising event last month.

Ahmed Alnouaq attended the charity dinner organised by Swindon Palestine Solidarity charity dinner to help raise thousands for Medical Aid Palestine and raise awareness of the reality in Gaza at the moment.

Over 150 guests and 30 volunteers listened, often with tears in their eyes, as Ahmed and his wife recalled the violent circumstances people in Gaza are facing and the personal consequences.

Ahmed is the co-founder of an organisation set up in 2015 to provide English-language writing workshops for young Palestinians in Gaza, called We Are Not Numbers.

He told how during the Israeli military attack against Palestinians in the summer of 2014, his 23-year-old brother, Ayman, was killed by an Israeli missile while simply walking on the street near his home in Dir-Al-Balah.

Swindon Advertiser: People at the Swindon Palestine dinnerPeople at the Swindon Palestine dinner (Image: Swindon Palestine Solidarity)

Ahmed sunk into depression from which he thought he would never return to normal life again.

During this time, he met Pam Bailey, who encouraged him to write his story. The death of his brother and his friends was reported in the media as six Palestinians killed but didn’t use their names.

Ahmed wanted his brother to be named and remembered, as well as all the other victims of the Israeli attacks.

From there, We Are Not Numbers was formed to share the stories of young Palestinians in Gaza. Over 350 writers now contribute to We Are Not Numbers.

A spokesperson for Swindon Palestine Solidarity said: "We are grateful for the generosity of local businesses and individuals who contributed food, decorations, time and money.

"Thanks goes to Biblop, Ruchi, Jully, DuDuzo Kitchen, Lalbagh, Pizza and Co, Tandoori Nights, Shupe, Grand Bazaar, The Jewel in the Crown, Kaspars, members of the Turkish and Muslim communities.

"With their help, the event has raised over £3,000."

Speaking about the reception he received in Swindon, Ahmed said: "I just wanted to say that I was very very pleased to have joined you in Swindon. To have joined my friends and family the freedom lovers and supporters of Palestine in Swindon.

He added: "I felt like I was surrounded by family. The event was very powerful and the spirit of the people I found there was very high and motivating and it gave me a lot of hope because as someone who has lost all his family members I feel like these people who support Palestine and solidarity with Palestine are now my family, are of my people.

"And it gives me hope that as long as we have people like you who have continued to participate in events and protests for Palestine, believe that Palestine eventually will be free."