Local resident, Piers Burnell loaded up his Land Rover on Monday morning with donations for the people of Ukraine with the help of David Eggleton to set off for Poland.
The car was fit to bursting with boxes and bags of toiletries, food, medical supplies, dog food, nappies, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and even some special film for windows to stop the glass shattering in bomb blasts. A bag of teddy bears also went on the journey with messages tied round their necks, one saying “take care of me.” Donations came from friends of Piers, the Henley community and donations from the collection points set up by David.
Most of the medical supplies were from a friend of Pier’s whose son recently passed away who had Muscular Dystrophy. He said, “The suppliers will not take any of his medical supplies back once they have been issued, even if never opened, or if they do they just get incinerated or go to landfill….such a waste. My friend asked me if I could take a lot of the remaining supplies for Ukraine in the knowledge that they will be of great use and also how his son would have wished that. Marlow FM where I work had Ukraine Day and from that a local dog company gave £200 worth of dog food.”
There were 23 boxes in total of donations all which had lists attached so that they could be shown to customs at border controls. David collected donations from Anastasia Lypynska, a local Ukrainian who has been working with David to get the right things through to people who need it. David said, “We’re squeezing the last few in, it’s like Tetras. It was really emotional picking up the things it was just a shame we couldn’t get everything in. There are rumours that a lot of stuff is going into landfill but that’s not the case. There is some gridlock of things and it is taking some time getting through border controls. I would like to reassure people who have donated that their stuff is getting through to the right people and would like to thank everyone for their kind support.”
Piers arrived yesterday (Wednesday) at around noon, after travelling through Belgium, Holland, north of Germany through Hanover, Berlin to arrive at Sublice in Poland where he was meeting his contact Oksana and Anastasia’s cousin to hand over the donations.
Piers commented, “It started out 3/4 weeks ago having a random conversation with a friend about driving out with some donations. I then started looking at news reports on the internet and then finding people in those news reports who were helping with donations in Poland and getting in contact with them via Facebook. I found a contact in Poland then she put me in touch with a Ukrainian woman in Southampton who put me in touch me with the Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine charity. I realised it wasn’t a case of just filling your car up and driving out there and hoping for the best. Having it through a charity just means that bit more to me. It’s been a really good reaction by everyone.”
Dressed in Ukraine colours including a recently purchased blue and yellow trainers from Lidl, talking about the journey and handing the donations over yesterday Piers said, “The journey over went well and there were no problems at the borders. When I handed over the items it felt great. I’m really proud that I did it. It was a relief too that it all worked out to plan. They were really grateful and it was great to meet each other. It was just a really lovely moment.”