STREET performer Purpleman was due to fly out of the UK late last night in his mission to deliver donated soft toys to children in Syria.
Joined by gallery owner Terry Brett, Purpleman was intending to fly to the Turkish border town of Antakya late last night landing early this morning, before trying to cross the border into Syria.
Terry, who runs York's Pyramid Gallery, agreed to accompany his friend as far as Turkey where his daughter Susie Brett works as an English language teacher and the pair have thanked the people of York who have generously donated 1000 toys for the mission.
The two men worked together on a charity art exhibition at Terry's Pyramid Gallery, which helped raise the funds for the trip.
But despite Foreign Office advice not to travel to Syria, Purpleman insists he will attempt the risky border crossing.
He said: "If I took advice from officials I probably wouldn't set foot outside my front door. I am not taking any advice because it is all negative and I am focusing on love."
York MP Hugh Bayley has written letter of support, he added.
"We have had 1000 soft toys donated, which tells me people recognise this is all about love."
The pair will be away until Friday, but Terry does not plan to join Purpleman on his attempts to enter Syria.
He said: "I won't be going into Syria, and I don't expect Purpleman will be either."
Terry said the pair already have contacts with refugee agencies in Turkey, helped by Susie, which may mean they can revert to a "Plan B" of delivering the soft toys to Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey.
"Plan C would be to give the toys to a charity already working in a refugee camp for them to distribute, but I think Purpleman wants to give the toys to the children personally," he added.
"I worry about going into a refugee camp because I don't know whether we will meet smiling faces, or lots of troubled people. It could be quite a shock."