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  • Lucy Atherton

Help for Ukraine


Two friends from Devon embarked on a week long humanitarian mission to travel to the Polish/Ukraine border to support the refugee crisis. Since the start of the war in Ukraine both Tim Flint and Henry Irvine had watched the news in horror and were deeply affected by the plight of the Ukrainian people. Unbeknownst to each other, they were both considering doing something proactive and impactful.


Within four days of Henry agreeing to join Tim on the trip they managed to organise flights to Warsaw, hire a people carrier, carry out Covid tests and purchase extra winter clothing. All this whilst working and managing to raise £6,000. As news spread of their trip this total increased to near £25,000.


Setting off on 11th March, once they arrived in Poland they collected supplies from a supermarket, food, blankets and medicines. They then made their way to Dorohusk, a border crossing where they had already made contact with an official. There they collected their first family and drove them several hours to a host family. Tim and Henry spent the week driving primarily to and from Chełm train station to Warsaw. Providing onward transport, accommodation, clothing, food and even in some cases flights, to ensure that families can get to safety.


At times the experience was emotionally overwhelming, all the families they helped have experienced such trauma, which has been hard to comprehend. Tim and Henry went out of their way to try to support them as much as they can, with the resources they had. All of it due to the generosity of their friends, families and local communities.


"The exhaustion and desperation etched on faces crossing the border from Ukraine to Poland will live with us forever, as will the stories shared. To have the opportunity to play a very small part in easing the burden of this awful situation for some and in the process seeing tears of gratitude, smiles on children’s faces, glimmers of hope for the future and making friends for life has been a great privilege. We hope, if nothing else, that our updates have added a human element to this crisis." @safepassageukraine



Tim said: "We are not a charity or business, just two people who are taking unpaid time off work and are desperate to help out in this awful situation. I am a self employed father of two small children, I build furniture from reclaimed wood. Henry works for a large charity. The situation in Eastern Europe has deeply affected us and we wished to do our part to help."


Tim and Henry are really grateful for everyone’s donations and messages of support. It spurred them on when they were exhausted - physically and emotionally. Thanks to your donations they provided direct assistance to 71 refugees, transporting them to safety (driving 5,495km/3,414miles in the process), providing accommodation, booking onward flights/trains/buses, supplying food/drink and many other important provisions. On many return journeys to the border they also purchased items in bulk to re-supply refugee reception centres.


Below are some photos of the families they helped, if you wish to find out more please follow them on Facebook and Instagram. You will also find the links for donating.


To donate:

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/ukraine-refugees---a-safe-passage


Follow their progress on

www.facebook.com/safepassage4ukrainianrefugees

www.instagram.com/safepassageukraine/