Ukraine Crisis Relief Support
Ukraine Aid Trip to Poland
8th-10th March 2022
On Friday 4th March in Ramsey Golf Club bar after an evening of social drinking with friends, myself and my colleague Michael “Jacko” Jackson, (who runs our motorcycle restoration business in Richmond North Yorkshire and is chief mechanic in our motorcycle reaching team, Team (ILR), outraged at what Putin was doing to Ukraine determined to fill our two vans and take aid to Poland. We put out details on social media and rang people who could help. Jacko mobilised Richmond and collections started there. Richard and Patsy readily agreed to let the Golf club become the local hub.
We wanted to give immediate relief to those refugees who were arriving at the Polish border. They were mainly women with very young children. We put out an appeal for:
Personal hygiene products
Dry dog and cat food
Non perishable food
Small bags of sweets
Thanks to the generosity of the people of Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire the call was answered immediately and donations started flooding in. Jacko has the largest transit and we also have access to a large trailer so could take a lot but he managed to get contact to a convoy being organised by the village of Catterick and we joined their operation. Below is a video of local BBC news that can describe the operation much better than I can.
Once the word went out I was asked if I wanted help on the drive by Guy Munro one of my lodge Brothers from Sothius lodge in St Ives. I was delighted but we were both gutted when Guy discovered on the Monday that his passport had less than six months before expiry. Despite dashing to the Passport office in Peterborough he sadly could not come. Richard Coles, chairman of our own Ramsey Golf and Bowls Club manfully volunteered to take his place.
We were soon inundated with donations. We received all the items we asked for on the list but also received a lot of clothes. Secondhand clothing and bedding cannot be readily used and it is better converted to cash over here and the money donated. A lesson we will learn for next time.
Thank you so much to the team of volunteers from Ramsey Golf and Bowls Club for sorting the donations. We had boxes of toothpaste of toothbrushes, Deodorants, Soaps, Torches, Batteries etc. These were so well presented and labelled that when we arrived at the distribution center some much needed items were taken straight out of our vans and put on transport to the refugees.
We had much more stuff in Ramsey than we could put in one van and I was delighted when Darrell Preston knocked on my door after his Monday morning round of Golf and volunteered himself and his VW Transported. His friend Stephen Hase volunteered to assist on the journey and he was our morale officer keeping us cheery7 throughout the journey.
Vans packed on Monday we arranged to meet the convoy from Yorkshire between 07.30 and 08.00 near Cambridge services. The night before I had felt a bit chesty but put it down to dealing with the donations and being very tired. I took a covid test which was negative.
We successfully joined the convoy and made our way to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais. On the way, Jackos van and trailer started to struggle on the hills and he limped into the ferry terminal. A water hose had burst and a replacement wouldn’t arrive until the next day. We unfortunately had to leave Jacko behind.
Jacko was assisted by co pilot David Bagshaw and they had to stay the night at Premier Inn next to the garage. Hearing about what they were doing Premier Inn gave them a free breakfast. Thank you premier Inn
Steve from Perry’s the Ford dealer in Dover ordered the parts and helped get the van and trailer to their garage. They could not have been more helpful and as soon as the parts arrived they were fitted and Jacko could get on his way. All costs were waved! Thank you so much to Steve and Perry’s of Dover you were stars!
Uncertain whether the Transit had sustained engine damage after the over heating it was prudent to find another way of getting aid to Ukraine. Local couple Dave and Suzzie helped find and escort our van and trailer to a Hub in Sandwich and help off load all of the aid. It went on a lorry and the aid arrived at the Ukrainian border yesterday.
We arrived in Calais and the Convoy made its way to Dortmund Germany. We got there just before midnight. The Convoy were determined to try and make Poland in one hit however I was by now quite poorly and we stopped in Dortmund setting off at 06.30 next morning. We arrived at the Ukrainian Consulate in Szczecin Poland at lunchtime. It was a very slick operation all run by volunteers. It works 24 hours a day and we were so gratefully received by the consul and the staff. In addition to the aid I also gave money.
If you ever wondered whether your contribution actually makes a difference please read this email sent from Monica Wrobrlawska who looked after us at the consul
“I can not even describe how much power your group gave to us. I mean really, we are fighting since 2 weeks for now, Jan (my boss) is fighting since years.
But the energy you gave to us changed something, that was the moment when we really got connected and became partners. These crazy 12 vans with such an amazing stuff with so many positive great people… just wow ❤ thank you very very much ❤- Tomorrow all food for pets is going to the main foundation- they had to make some space for it❤
– some stuff from your vans went straight into transport to Ukraine, some will wait few days
- I allowed myself to share with some things with a village near to our city, today 120 kids without parents came there just with little backpacks. We gave them blankets, some toys, clothes, soaps, I hope you won’t feel angry or disappointed with it after I promised you to send everything to Ukraine, that was just very emergency situation and we had to help, these kids had really only few personal things with themselves. And you have no idea how much our medics were happy when they opened the boxes from you. I never thought in my life that I will ever feel pure happiness seeing medicines and good tactical stuff. I never thought I’ll be happy seeing military clothes, knowing someone will be safe with it It’s just amazing what all of you did for us and for Ukraine, you save people’s lifes ❤“
We made our way home and stayed at the Mecure Hotel in Kamen Germany. When finding out the purpose of our journey gave us free Parking. Thank you Mecure.
We had a late night meal at the L’Osteria Italian restaurant in Kamen. As it was after 10pm they only had Pizzas but they were huge and delicious. Thank you Richard. This was our only meal of the trip. We lived on water and snacks. Uma Mistry very kindly made us food and snacks for both vans which kept us going as we drove along.
A big thank you to everyone that helped and contributed to make this a successful mission.
I have also shared all my photos on Facebook. Three below of the deliveries to Ukrainian Consulate in Szczecin Poland
Contributions from Ramsey GC below