Firstly links for reference...
- The fundraising page (donate now please!).
- Accounting records of all our spending and fundraising.
- All my previous updates on our 'Help to Ukraine' project.
It's been an uplifting experience this project so far. Donations flooding in on a wave of goodwill between nations and real help delivered to brave soldiers and refugees in need.
I'm afraid though that todays update is to let you know that a few days ago the first vehicle we sent to Ukraine, Suzy the Isuzu, was destroyed by a Russian landmine. There were 4 men in the truck at the time. 2 were killed outright and 2 were injured in the explosion. Anton, Dr Mattinglys friend and our contact in the unit was not among the killed or wounded.
The unit we are supporting, of the Ukrainian Territorial Self Defence Forces, is with the regular Ukrainian Army in the Donbass. These citizen soldiers are on the front line and the risk is high but the news from Daria came as a shock. I can't help but reflect that as a 40 something man with no military experience I'd be one of them if born in Kyiv instead of peaceful Wiltshire.
What will we do now?
Firstly we've let Anton know that we'd like to support the families of the killed and injured men directly. Secondly we'd like to replace the vehicle destroyed and deliver it, along with as many other life saving supplies, as soon as possible.
We're in the top 1% of ALL Just Giving fundraising campaigns
This morning I've been buying body armour and camouflage jackets but we need more money to replace the vehicle. Can you help? I want this to be a long running campaign that will move, when peace arrives, to reconstruction and direct aid.
This is your campaign as much as ours now, can you share it and help us go viral? We want to raise much more money and help many Ukrainian units and families. Blake & Bull has the resources to manage the campaign and through Dr Mattingly we know how to do it effectively.
The dogs of Ukraine
So many family pets have been abandoned in this war in the scramble to evacuate abroad and to cramped refugee accommodation in the west of Ukraine. Anton and his unit often come across these animals, desperate for companionship of course, and will take them back to shelters. The two below were taken to Kharkiv, perhaps one day they will be reunited with their owners. They were found in the ruins of a school, pictured below, along with rare breed pigs. The pigs seemed quite content so were left to roam but the dogs latched onto the men of the unit straightaway!
A special thanks
At a recent fundraising dinner in Charmouth we raised over £2,500. Thank you to all who donated. Special thanks to Liz & Roger Sansom for your generosity.