Monday, 04 July 2022

Villagers deliver donations to Polish border

TWO people from Crazies Hill collected donations to take to the Poland border with Ukraine.

Mark Williams and Rebecca Robinson have friends and work colleagues in Ukraine and felt compelled to help. They set up Crazies Hill Ukraine Aid and raised at least £17,000.

Mr Williams, who is a director of David Lloyd, employs 58 coders and developers from an IT firm called Eleks, which has four offices in Ukraine. Most of the employees are in Kyiv and Lviv and only a few have managed to safely escape with their families while the rest have joined the Ukrainian army or are taking shelter in bunkers.

The Crazies Hill couple filled a van with essentials and equipment and drove to Kraków, Poland to meet other Eleks employees to hand over the donations for transport to Lviv.

Miss Robinson said: “Mark is in regular contact with some of his colleagues in Ukraine. Some have fled but others are still working from bomb shelters underground. We were able to ask them what they needed.” The couple requested donations of drones, military grade medical kits, tourniquets, long-range radios and special satellites for wi-fi as well as sleeping bags, painkillers, head torches, walking boots, diesel generators, tape and power banks for mobile phones.

Miss Robinson said: “We aimed to procure things that most people don’t have at home but are desperately needed. All items are validated by the Ukrainian Aid centre in Lviv where they have people on the ground helping. There are bigger organisations which are collecting donations for clothes and food.

“Crazies Hill village hall agreed to store all our donations and then we loaded up the van for the journey. We are fundraising too — the goal was originally £10,000, which we exceeded within the first couple of days.” The pair travelled with a friend Kate Stevens and took it in turns to drive.

Meanwhile, Val Wyatt Marine in Wargrave raised £6,216 for Ukrainian and British charities. The Cwtch café closed in December so marina owner Lisa Anacora organised a sale of the contents.

More than £3,000 has been distributed to Ukrainian aid charities, including the National Bank of Ukraine, the Disasters Emergency Committee and Dobra Fabryka, which is a Polish aid charity planning to evacuate 200 orphans currently living in the war-torn city of Lviv.

The rest was split between mental health charity Mind, and Refuge, which helps victims of domestic violence.

Ms Anacora said: “While we’re carrying on with business as usual, it is impossible to not consider what is happening elsewhere in our world.

“We reached out to friends in Poland for advice, who recommended the charities we chose.”

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