With matching funds from Blake & Bull our little fundraiser is at £19,058, extraordinary. 339 generous people have raised an average of £47 so far. Thank you to all of you! We are still raising money but the next phase of the project has begun.
In Ukraine the territorial defence unit that the project is dedicated to helping have been undergoing training with former UK marines in the last few days following the withdrawal of Russian forces from around Kyiv. They will shortly be redeployed to the fighting in the east of Ukraine.
With some urgency then we'll shortly make our first purchase. A 2013 Isuzu 4x4 truck called Suzy! A local tree surgery company, Smith & Arbor, kindly allowed us to purchase her at part exchange value (£8,500) forgoing the additional money they would have made at private sale. Buying this vehicle from a garage would have cost several thousand more so we are very grateful to them.
Able to carry 5 people and a tonne of cargo she is the perfect vehicle to carry medical and other supplies to Ukraine and make herself useful when she arrives. We'll pop a tough agricultural canopy over the load bed so she can carry more supplies securely and tomorrow morning CPS Garage in Bradford on Avon will be servicing and preparing her. Isuzus are renowned for their reliability but we want to make sure the journey to the border (1300 miles!) goes smoothly and that once in Ukraine nothing goes wrong. Garages are few and far between right now in Ukraine so Suzy will travel with plenty of commonly needed spare parts too just in case.
Next week we'll be buying supplies and making final preparations for the journey. Dr Mattingly herself and her husband will be driving out and flying back from Warsaw, hopefully in the middle of April.
We hope that with your help Suzy the Isuzu will soon be in Ukraine full of medical supplies and keeping the small force of territorial soldiers, so recently civilians, safe and mobile as they defend their homeland. When the war ends she will go to one of the many devastated communities to assist in the rebuilding process. I hope we'll be able to help with this too one day soon.