A GLASGOW minister leading the fight to prevent a 10-year-old orphan from being deported is raising money for asylum seekers and refugees to celebrate Christmas.

Reverend Brian Casey, Minster of Springburn Parish Church, hopes to raise £4,000 to buy presents for children in the north of Glasgow and throw them a party.

The money will be managed by the ‘In the Same Boat’ committee and distributed to people referred by the church’s partners, which include schools, the NHS, Marie Curie and two foodbanks.

Rev Casey’s initial fundraising target of £2,000 was met within three days, so he doubled it.

He hopes that the money will help families in poverty to celebrate Christmas.

He said: “All human beings are made in the image of God so that is why we are in the same boat.

“Whether it is the boat crossing the Mediterranean, carrying people seeking relief from war, or the individual on benefits being left with no money due to the roll out of Universal Credit.

“Christmas is the holy day that marks the birth of Jesus, the son of God, so let’s give those with nothing a good one this year.”

According to the Scottish Government, there are around 5,000 asylum seekers currently living in Glasgow – more than any other single area in the UK with numbers greater than Liverpool and Birmingham combined.

Rev Casey said he was inspired to set up the fundraising campaign after a local supermarket worker told him that she and her neighbours clubbed together to buy furniture for a Syrian refugee family who had moved in next door.

“I initially expected to hear rhetoric like ‘they come here and take our benefits’ but the folks of Glasgow have been so generous and loving towards people who really have nothing in some cases,” he added.

In June, Rev Casey launched a petition to allow young refugee Giorgi Kakava and his grandmother Ketino Baikhadze to stay in the UK.

It was signed by 90,000 people, and the Home Office granted permission for them to stay for two and a half years.

The petition calls for the schoolboy to be allowed to stay in Glasgow, safe from the threat of violence or trafficking in Georgia.

Bob Doris, MSP for Maryhill and Springburn, said: “I warmly welcome this initiative and offer it my full support. "