TWO friends have joined forces to host an online auction in aid of Afghan refugees after being moved by the scenes of violence and tragedy amid the Taliban takeover of the country.

Amanda Farnese Heath, an award-winning photographer and stylist, lives with her partner of 36 years Simon Heath, a composer and designer, at Seacliff.

She has come together with friend Debbie Shinton – a freelance advertising account director who lives on St Andrew Street in North Berwick with husband Jonathan and children Annie and Rhys – to launch an online auction to raise money for Choose Love.

Choose Love – formerly Help Refugees – provides humanitarian aid to, and advocacy for, refugees around the world.

Debbie and Amanda were left feeling “hopeless” after watching news reports from Afghanistan and decided to raise money via an online auction composed of prizes from local businesses to support projects providing aid and services to Afghan people and refugees.

At the beginning of the month, Amanda and Debbie sent out requests for donations in and around East Lothian.

They were blown away by the “truly great Scottish response”.

They said: “From dinners showcasing the best of Scottish foods to private chefs, treehouse accommodation to vintage campervans, massages to yoga classes, bespoke jewellery and handmade chocolate, what’s been amazing is that the majority of those who have donated are small businesses or one-man/woman operations.

“They have had the toughest of times lately and are just getting back on their feet but are willing to donate to help others who they know are struggling.

“It is a real reflection of the Scottish mentality and something to be proud of.”

Amanda and Debbie are encouraging East Lothian residents to get involved ahead of their launch on Saturday, when more than 70 auctions go live for bidding.

The duo added: “For those who bid, it is a double reward.Not only do they get to enjoy the amazing luxury auction lots on offer but the money spent will be going to Choose Love, who are working hard to locate and co-ordinate the evacuation of at-risk people in Afghanistan, supporting medical organisations working there and providing immediate support to people seeking safety.

“Hopefully together we can make just a little bit of a difference.”

Scotland Chooses Love t-shirts are also available to order from Nørden on North Berwick High Street.

The t-shirts cost £15, with all the money going to Choose Love.

To view all the auction pieces, bid or make a donation, visit