A REFUGEE from the Spanish Civil War has urged Cumbria to provide adequate support for Afghans.

Carmen Cid, 92, lives in Carlisle and left Spain when she was eight years old to come to the UK.

She called for more help to be given to Afghan asylum seekers.

She said: "I feel really sorry for them because it’s hell. You have no money, no roof over your head, where are you going to get food?

She added: "It’s not fair. When you bring people into the country that isn’t the finished job."

Carmen was shipped to the UK in 1937 on the SS Habana as one of 4,000 child refugees from the Basque Country.

She was from Bilbao and came with her older brother and sister.

Before they left, their mother told them that they were going on holiday.

"We wouldn’t have come if we knew," said Carmen.

Carmen stayed in a couple of refugee accommodations in the south of England before a group of roughly 100 children were put up in a workhouse in Brampton.

She found fortune when 23-year-old activist Norman Alford convinced his parents to take her in at their Currock Park Avenue home.

"They were wonderful. Especially the woman. She was very good, very understanding.

"She made me very wise. She was the best teacher anyone could have had."

Carmen attended Upperby and Robert Ferguson schools.

She described the difficulties of moving to the UK.

"It was like being deaf and dumb, I had to use actions [to communicate].

"People were very curious. Children used to knock on the door to see if I was different from them."

Carmen's older brother and sister ended up in Clydebank, near Glasgow.

She never returned to live in Spain, but her parents moved to Scotland in the early 1950s.

When they arrived, it was the first time that she saw them in 13 years.

Luis Eckersley, Carmen's son, said that Afghan refugees need the support that his mother got from the Alford family.

He said: "It’s great that we’ve taken people in, but there’s got to be a plan to support them.

"You can’t just say 'there’s a house' and that’s it.

"Luckily my mother had a family that took her in and supported her and provided for her.

"If that isn’t there, things can fall apart pretty quickly. They can become exploited."