HUNDREDS of people took to the streets of Oxford to welcome a giant puppet which represents refugee children.

Little Amal, a three and a half metre high puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian girl, landed in the UK last week as part of The Walk.

The puppet, which requires three people to operate, started its journey in Turkey in July and has travelled across Europe, in order to raise awareness of the problems faced by young migrants.

In Oxford to greet Amal was The Story Museum’s very own giant Alice in Wonderland puppet.

Oxford Mail: Little Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed NixLittle Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed Nix

Amaya Jeyarajah Dent, the UK producer for The Walk, told the Oxford Mail: “We have brilliant partners in The Story Museum and we know there’s amazing work done locally with refugees.

“It’s not often we allow for Amal to meet other puppets, but this is something special.

“It’s been a wonderful journey with a real warm reception.

“People have been very enthusiastic, and it’s been really special.

“Amal represents a community of unaccompanied young people who are real and are across Europe on their own.

“She represents an issue which is far too big to ignore.”

Oxford Mail: Little Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed NixLittle Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed Nix

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Amir Nizar Zuabi, artistic director for The Walk, added: “When you start an 8,000-kilometre journey during a pandemic, you’re bound to have challenges but for the most part we’ve been welcomed.

“Logistically it’s been a big challenge to coordinate with everyone involved.”

The Story Museum worked with more than 24 different partners to create the ‘Amal Meets Alice’ event.

The two puppets met at Oxford Botanic Garden, with the procession then moving along High Street and then Radcliffe Square.

From there, the group moved to Catte Street and then Broad Street, Cornmarket Street and St Aldate’s.

The jovialities ended at Christ Church Meadow, where there was a mass dance with everyone who had joined in the two-hour march.

Oxford Mail: Little Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed NixLittle Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed Nix

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To enable the huge number of people taking part to walk through the city, short rolling road closures were set up in High Street and St Aldate’s.

A welcome song was composed by The Story Museum’s Holly Khan, alongside pupils from St Gregory the Great Catholic School and St Barnabas CE Primary School.

As part of the work around Amal’s visit, a project called ‘Beyond Amal’ between the museum and Oxford charity, Asylum Welcome, has been created.

It will see training in oral storytelling, developing communication skills, confidence and resilience.

Upon leaving Oxford, Amal will head to Coventry, Birmingham, Sheffield and the Peak District, before The Walk ends in Manchester next month.

Oxford Mail: Little Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed NixLittle Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed Nix

Oxford Mail: Little Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed NixLittle Amal meets Alice from The Story Museum at Oxford Botanic Garden. Picture: Ed Nix