I sometimes wonder what it is that makes you want to belong to a place, a town, a country, and its people.

I have travelled and moved home many times in my life and I have often felt a bit of a vagabond but Bangor has now been my home for several decades.

Circumstances and choice, and an income to support those choices, has allowed me to decide where and how I live, and with whom. I enjoy living in a country and a society that affords me the right to live where I wish and to live the life that I wish to lead. This is a privilege denied to those who flee hatred, harm and hunger.

It is easy for me to take that entitlement for granted, and then the TV shows pictures of refugees fleeing war, famine and persecution that intrudes on my sense of well-being. My complacency changes to discomfort and an urge to switch channels. And I go to sleep in the comfort of my bed with a nagging sense that I need to do something to give others the same benefits that I take so much for granted.

I am privileged to live in Bangor where the worst that happens today is acrimonious debate about local politics and Brexit. The plight of refugees rarely intrudes on our lives, but I see many people stepping up to help newcomers in desperate need with charity and love. And I am reminded why I found Bangor such a welcoming place. It is the people.

Peter Hughes was born in England, moved to Canada, France and Germany and came to Bangor in 1979 as a Civil Servant. He moved to Belfast but has come back to Bangor where he attends a CFC home group with his wife Karen. He still has the urge to travel.

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