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Claire Street raised £260 from 10 supporters

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Closed 12/07/2022

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£260
raised of £5,000 target by 10 supporters

    Weʼve raised £260 to Mark Hatfield and Martin Dunwoody need help with the cost of fuel to get aid back to the Ukraine refugees

    Funded on Tuesday, 12th July 2022

    Don't have time to donate right now?

    Story

    Mark Hatfield and Martin Dunwoody are former 3rd Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and Veterans of the Armed Forces; they are also local men proud of their roots. First and foremost, they are family men with children and grandchildren; however, they stand shoulder to shoulder within their community to support families and children in war-torn Ukraine. Mark, Martin and other Salford family men have recently travelled to support Ukraine with two vans of medical equipment; this run was planned as the first run to open more doors for more runs in the future.

    Mark said the motivation for him came as he watched the news reports on the television and saw the faces of the women and children. As an Armed Forces Veteran, Mark has experienced conflict, but he knew it could so easily be his family and his community who was next. The others felt the same; they had to help. Also, Mark pointed out; they didn’t decide to do this because they are Armed Forces Veterans, but as men in their community, they came together to help Ukrainians in need.

    The first run was to open a pathway to future runs to support Ukraine.

    Mark returned from Ukraine two days ago after delivering much-needed goods to support the Ukrainian people. However, it was a run intended to open up the gates for future runs, the next one is in a few weeks; it helped them to identify what items the people of Ukraine needed most. Now, they are calling on their community to stand with them with donations. They call on local people, charities and community groups, local businesses and national to come together and help them achieve this.

    Martin and Mark planned the first run to support Ukraine last month; they left Salford on a Friday morning and drove to London, where they spent the day loading the van. Mark said, ‘on reflection; we want to prepare ourselves better for the next time we go. We wasted a day, so, next time, we want all the items boxed, prepared and ready from one local drop-off point.’

    The men travelled to Dover and boarded the ferry, and18 hours later; having travelled 1500 miles to complete their mission, they arrived at the Ukrainian border.

    Women and children were everywhere; many children are travelling alone.

    Mark explained, ‘When we arrived at Warsaw, we were directed to a community centre, where had could take a shower and rest up before we made our way to the borders. The first problem we thought about was, where we would take our delivery; who would want it? Also, where was it needed most to support the Ukrainian people? The second problem was paperwork, it was horrendous, and the queues were vast.’

    Mark said ‘the next run will be better, we have tried and tested this run, and we know what we face now. However, we weren’t ready to see how many people were at the border and how many lost women and children there were.’

    Also, it was snowing, and everyone was jostling and pushing to get on the trains. Mark said ‘women were clinging to their children’s hands; God forbid they let go because they wouldn’t have found them again amongst so many people.’

    Worse still, was the sight of children who travelled alone; their families had no choice; they needed to get them out safely. Sadly, many of them carried their belongings in carrier bags; some had even brought their pets. I thought to myself, have we brought pet food? And if we haven’t, we will next time.’

    Ukraine needs support with communication as many have no phones.

    I knew that Poland had taken one million refugees in the first few days of conflict; this explained the mass of people trying to get through the border. Also, there was a massive block in communication as many women and children, including children travelling alone, couldn’t log on to social media accounts because they didn’t have a phone. Subsequently, they couldn’t get in touch with friends or family to tell them where they were.’

    The train station on the Polish border was manic; we could see that not everyone had a phone. We need mobile phones, tablets, i-pads or walkie-talkies because the phone companies were giving away pre-paid sim cards at the train station; this is a Gods send. Consequently, they can contact their families once they get a phone.’

    Can you imagine how horrific this is for families? For the many men who stayed to fight? And the elderly and people with disabilities that had to stay behind?’

    ‘How do they get their voices heard without a phone? Also, not everyone is strong enough to face the journey out of Ukraine; they wouldn’t survive. How will they know if their family is safe? And finally, what of the displaced children who are now vulnerable; how do they get their voices heard?’

    Mark said, ‘you can see on the faces of the people at the train station how desperate they are. The horror of what has happened to them is intense. Yet, there is a sense of community with them; they help each other, and children laugh, play, sing, and raise spirits.’

    We are family men first and armed forces veterans second.

    The government, Mark said, doesn’t want serving soldiers to go to Ukraine. However, the men recognise this because, first and foremost, they are family men from Salford. They have families who are supporting them wholeheartedly. Secondly, Martin and Mark are ex- Lancashire Fusiliers and are Armed Forces Veterans; thankfully, they didn’t hang up their hearts when they hung up their boots.

    Both Mark and Martin understand as Armed Forces how it feels to be away from their family, it was the motivation to help. Mark explained, ‘we saw the women and children and knew how easily it could be us; this could be our family, and our children and grandchildren could be next.’

    Thanks to the last runs, the route we have planned for the next trip is better prepared. We know what the Ukrainians need, and more importantly, we know the best way to do it.’

    Mark also supports Veterans who suffer from mental health problems, he is aware of the potential mental health problems Ukrainians will face. Mark explains, ‘we are ex-Army, the survival technique is in-built, but this something natural to us, others don’t have this, and that is why we need to help them.”

    Martin and two others have stayed to support Ukraine and witnessed how communities come together and care for Ukrainian families in their local community centres and schools. Mark said, ‘I know one man who runs an Irish bar in Warsaw; he has two spare bedrooms upstairs. Every night he has two families that stay in safety before they move ahead the next day; however, he needs more sleeping bags and blankets; could anyone help out?’

    We need individual boxes for families, children and people travelling alone.

    The men arrived at the drop off point, and they saw for themselves the enormity of donations given to Ukrainian people from many countries. Mark said,’ the generosity is fantastic.’ ‘However, we are going back with everything they need for their next journey, in a box with everything they need now. It’s cold over there; they are freezing; they need hats, gloves, scarves, and socks.’

    The boxes will go to every family and their children; also children and people travelling alone because they need basic essentials to keep them warm.’

    However, firstly, we need boxes, so we now call box manufacturers to help us. The family boxes will contain knitted hats, glasses, scarves, gloves, coats, socks, water, nappies, medical supplies that include paracetamol, bandages, plaster, antiseptic creams, Calpol and sanitary products. Also, we need travel goods, such as lip balms, baby wipes and moisturisers; it is so cold, and the onus is to help them survive.’

    They need heated gloves because it is bitterly cold, and everything must be compact. We need things they can wear now or tuck away in a pocket. Also, we need chocolate and sweets, especially glucose sweets, whilst they are travelling to give them energy. However, most importantly, they need a mobile phone to communicate.’

    Most importantly, we need communities to come together. We need charities and local organisations to help us get these things to one local drop off point; from there, we can individually box them and get ourselves back with what the Ukrainians need.’

    We also need pet food, too!

    We want to recognise the vital work children play in this war.

    The men want a box for each child; one for a girl and one for a boy. The packages will have woollen hats, gloves, underwear, scarves, chocolate, sweets for the journey, a knitted toy and whatever we can to help them on their journey ahead.

    Mark said ‘we know that a child’s smile is the same no matter their language. We know what the children are doing, but we need to understand, they are still children; we need to look after them whilst they are looking after others.’ Also, we saw children keeping everyone positive; they were smiling, singing, and keeping everyone’s spirits up.’

    We know children should not witness the horrors of war. However, as the children have shown, friendships and solidarity among children are strong; they too can spread the message of solidarity with kindness and compassion. Also, if a child wants to write a note to go in the boxes to let them know they support them, that would be wonderful. Please, drop the letters and pictures off with us, including them in their boxes.

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    Claire Street

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      2 years ago

      Claire Street started crowdfunding

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      Page last updated on: 3/19/2022 17.11

      Supporters

      10

      • Anonymous

        Anonymous

        Mar 19, 2022

        Good luck on the trip. Stay safe,

      • Colette

        Colette

        Mar 16, 2022

        Good on ya lads.

        £10.00

      • Claire street

        Claire street

        Mar 16, 2022

        Please let’s help Mark and Martin get the much needed essentials over to the Ukraine.Your donation no matter how small and very much appreciated, Thank you xx

        £20.00

      • Anonymous

        Anonymous

        Mar 15, 2022

      • Anonymous

        Anonymous

        Mar 15, 2022

        Sorry its not more but hope it helps.

        £10.00

      • Anonymous

        Anonymous

        Mar 15, 2022

        God bless you and keep you safe

        £50.00

      • Christine Key

        Christine Key

        Mar 15, 2022

        God bless you all

        £10.00

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