New life in Preston suits tailor Jehad after the horrors of war in Syria

Life in Preston suits tailor Jehad Rached since he fled the war in Syria to set up home in the city.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:45 pm

Now the refugee and his wife Jina are sewing up a successful business away from the bloody conflict in their battle-scarred homeland.

The couple's Golden Needle shop is proving so popular they have been forced to move to bigger premises to cope with demand.

And both Jehad and Jina have said a huge "thank you" to the folk of Preston for giving them sanctuary from the civil war in Syria which has been raging for 11 years.

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Jina and Jehad outside their new shop in Lancaster Road.

They have even been chosen by the Home Office and the BBC to show the positive face of the refugee situation in Britain, particularly after they made free face masks and scrubs for hospitals in Preston, Chorley, Blackpool and Manchester during the pandemic.

"It was our way of saying 'thank you' for what Britain had done for us," explained Jehad, 38, who has been tailoring since he was 10.

"Life here has been amazing. The people of Preston have been so lovely and so kind to us.

"In our country it is like a horror story. It's not safe there. I've lost members of my family in the war - two uncles and a cousin - and I have a brother-in-law who is missing."

Jehad at work in his new shop.

Jina, 28, added: "We love this country and we feel part of the community here.

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"It is a very bad situation in Syria and we are so grateful to Britain and especially the people of Preston for making us so welcome."

The couple left Syria in September 2016 with their young son Nouri who was 19 months at the time. Nouri is now seven and has a four-year-old brother Armin who was born here.

Jina and Jehad say Preston people are so welcoming.

They spent time in Lebanon before being accepted into Britain by the Government and given a £10,000 loan by a charity to help set them up in business. That loan is now almost repaid.

Their first shop, which opened in Church Street in 2019 with just one fitting room, was so busy that Golden Needle has now moved to larger premises in Lancaster Road, opposite Baluga Bar.

"It's much bigger and we now have two fitting rooms, which means customers are not having to queue up to try things on," explained Jehad.

"We have lots of local people who come to us, but also there are customers from as far away as Glasgow, Manchester and London. One man from Scotland came wearing a kilt and wanted alterations to it."

The couple say life in Syria was "very dangerous." Jina said: "In Lebanon too it was a very bad situation. They treat refugees hard.

"The United Nations asked us if we would like to go somewhere else and eventually they said the UK.

"There are quite a lot of Syrians who have settled in Preston and they are all so grateful for the chance to live here amongst such lovely people. Some of them were on the same flight as us and we know each other now.

"Most of them are now working and some of them, like us, have their own businesses. It's a great place with great people."