Sally and Elmir (1993)

Moved by the images of suffering, Sally Becker set off to the war torn region of Bosnia-Herzegovina determined to try and help. The country was in the midst of civil war and people who had previously lived side by side in peace were killing each other. With the land divided along ethnic lines, Croats and Muslims were fighting for control of Mostar, a city which had once been a popular tourist destination. 50,000 people were trapped on the east side of the city, crammed into an area just twenty miles long. There was no electricity and very little food and the area was constantly targeted by snipers and rocket propelled grenades. No one could get in or out and people were dying for want of the most basic medical supplies.

Sally began by delivering aid to west Mostar and soon became a familiar sight as she drove in and out of the city in an old Renault 4. When she was asked to help a child trapped on the east side of the river she drove an ambulance across the front line and evacuated all the wounded children and their mothers. The mission was successful and Sally was dubbed the Angel of Mostar. She continued her missions throughout the war, bringing humanitarian aid to besieged areas and evacuating the wounded from all sides.

When the war spread to Kosovo Sally and her volunteers brought convoys of aid to the region but as the conflict escalated, the aid agencies pulled out and the borders were closed. Sally crossed the mountains on foot to bring medical supplies to a hospital in Junik, a town surrounded by Serb forces. She was asked to help sick and wounded children and their families to reach safety across the border but as they made their way across the mountains they were ambushed by Serb paramilitaries. While the rest of the group escaped into the forest, Sally stayed to help a woman and two children who were caught in the crossfire. She was captured and imprisoned but neither this nor being shot by masked gunmen in Northern Albania could make her abandon her task.

In July 2012 Sally carried the Olympic Flag alongside Mohammed Ali and Ban-Ki Moon at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

Sally is a Goodwill Ambassador for Children of Peace and Director of their Youth Ambassador Programme.

She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Humanitarian Intervention Centre and a Patron of Tell Mama UK.

Sally is a columnist for Diplomacy Post, a website for International News and Current Affairs.

Her latest book, Sunflowers and Snipers, has been published in Britain and the US.