Weʼre raising £100,000 to acquire, transport and donate aid to refugees from Ukraine.
- Midhurst, West Sussex
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First, from the very bottom of our hearts we would like to thank every single one of our amazing supporters who continue to fundraise, donate, support and just generally continue to be apart of what we are doing to help support Ukrainian refugees.
Now, we would like to make an apology for not updating anywhere near often enough... So, here's an update for you!
As of today (Tuesday 26th April 2022) we have with the help of 500Logistics delivered four articulated lorries full of aid in to Lublin then in to Liviv with Simon and Mark, our team from Humanitarian Aid Now.
We are so proud to have been able to deliver this 120 tonnes of aid on behalf of ICMDA . Here is a video of Rudi from ICMDA talking through these items, a lot of which is overstock from UK hospitals collected by a team of dedicated Dr's and surgeons.
We have also taken another convoy of vans driven by volunteers to Ustrzyki Dolne stuffed to the brim with food and other essential items. We thought we would let one of our drivers Neil Benson tell the story.
0n Tuesday 5th April...
...at approximately 14:00 I read a blog at work from “Scott” the cameraman, about a trip he had recently taken with a group of volunteers, travelling at speed across Europe to the South East of Poland to drop of urgently needed supplies for the Ukrainian people.
Wanted to recognise his accomplishments on a job well done, I penned an email. “Hi Scott, just read your blog and want to acknowledge your brilliant effort, If there is anyone I can contact to offer my services or assist in anyway please let me know”. I then went on with, “ I have served in the Army for 24 years, am used to travelling in vehicle convoys at unsociable hours and I can look after myself a bit too”. I pressed send
2 minutes later my phone rang, “Hi Neil, this is Scott, can you drive on Thursday?” “WHAT!!, This Thursday!? The day after tomorrow Thursday!?”, “erm, maybe, blimey, let me speak to my boss and I’ll get back to you”.
That’s how I found myself quickly packing a bag, waving goodbye to my wife and driving to the Swan pub in Midhurst, West Sussex on Wednesday 6th April, in what can only be described as excited trepidation, to meet up with my fellow volunteers.
At 03:00 the next day we set off, 5 vans, 10 volunteers carrying nearly 5 tonnes of urgently needed food and other supplies for the people of Ukraine.
Disembarking the ferry at the Hook of Holland at 17:30 CET, we set off in earnest, only stopping to refuel and change drivers, on through the night, through heavy rain, strong winds and relying heavily on Google Maps and WhatsApp to get us to the next fuel stop. Each cab filled with coffee, Pringles and enough chocolate to keep the most dedicated chocoholic very happy, we pressed on. At 3 am on Friday, travelling at a steady 80 miles an hour, we were met by a spectacular and totally unexpected display of lights placed atop the vast array of wind turbines. Hard to put a figure to it, but I would estimate between 500 to a thousand. Each goliath had two red lights which flashed in total unity with the others, set across the whole of the valley, making it feel like the aliens had landed and the War of the Worlds was actually happening. OR, maybe the coffee, chocolate, pringles and lack of sleep was finally getting to me. On we went, daylight came, the miles slowly passed and I nearly ran out of pringles.
As we drove through Poland, it was not the country I envisaged. The imagined grey, heavy communist influences were missing. The houses were beautiful, each garden was immaculately kept and a stand out for me were the cemeteries, which there seemed to be one in every village that we passed through, painstakingly maintained, festooned with an abundant arrays of vibrant flowers, lanterns and photo frames all immaculately maintained to respect those who had passed.
We arrived at Ustrzyki Dolne 24 hours after we had disembarked from the ferry in Holland, apart from one lady, no one spoke English, but we were connected by the same goal, to do whatever we can for those fleeing the unbelievable goings on only 10km from where we stood.
What did we take on this trip? Onboard we had 5 tons of food and essential supplies including, 56 drums of cooking oil, rice, pasta and toiletries all destined for people inside Ukraine who have nowhere to go and who are unable to leave, all relying on aid convoys like ours to survive.
Midhurst Sussex to Ustrzyki Dolne (South East Poland) 127km South West of LVIV, a distance of approximately 1,213 miles.
I arrived home on Monday 11th April at 00:30, 30 mins after my 56 birthday has passed, 4 days after setting off, feeling like it was months ago, not days that I had driven to the Swan in Midhurst to give a little bit of my time to help.
Those who served:
Paul Fullick – Duracell Bunny, moral and admin (nothing will slow this man down, not even a near death experience only 9 months ago, when he lost his leg just below the knee in a motorbike accident). Inspiration and organiser behind all of what you’ve read here and now back motorbike racing, even without the ability to use the back break. Yes he races, at silly speed and can’t deploy the back break. Total respect
Chris Overend – the racing driver, multiple operations, one leg longer than the other who drove 90% of the time in both directions due to Paul’s leg issue. Unbelievable effort – legend, speedster and part time photographer.
Dan Dan (Kocum) the taxi man with threaded eyebrows and perfect hair, my driver buddy and proof you can make a lifelong friend in 48hrs, although, needs lessons in using a gear stick and a clutch and oh my god can this man talk.
Helder Goncalves –Paul’s prosthetic doctor - obviously a genius and a top top bloke.
Gordon Baird – The silver fox, using his own van for the trip, always laughing, always first at the bar, which is a rare thing indeed for a Scotsman, obviously lived in England for far too long.
Ben Jones – Mr Pompey (Portsmouth season ticket holder, not sure where the other one was during this trip), now has two aid trips under his belt and determined to get his hattrick, something not seen at Portsmouth for some time.
Ian Walker – Such a nice man, always smiling, always quietly getting on with everything and everyone, a real gentleman.
John Huitson - Landscape gardener, longboat owner and fellow ginger.
Alistair Drage – Never seen without a cigarette and can be seen standing out in all weathers for the cause.
Neil Benson – honoured to have spent time with all above and would do it again in a heartbeat, but not for a few months, I need to sleep and to wean myself of chocolate and Pringles!!
We are gearing up to take our next mission, we will be taking mostly essential medical aid which through the contacts we have built will be taken directly in to Ukraine to hospitals which are desperately in need of the heart of Ukraine.
We are planning on delivering needed building items and taking volunteer builders to help build refugee housing in Ustrzyki Dolne.
On Monday 14th March we made our first mission to the border between Ukraine and Poland to deliver desperately needed essential aid to Ustrzyki Dolne council who were able to dispatch the aid directly in to Ukraine its self. We took 12 vans filled with a combined total of 12 tons of essential items such as medical aid, food, sleeping bags, and personal sanitary items. Our delegation delivered in multiple vans as we were able to access the areas many cannot in larger vehicles.
Our first drop was at the municipal sports hall where the bulk of the packing and sorting is done for the refugees passing through Ustrzyki Dolne. The second part of our delegation was able to split off and travel the four miles to the border where the bulk of the refugees pass through from Liviv.
Here’s what’s some of our drivers said about the trip:
Nic - The Trip was really eye opening I expected to see loads of convoys going out to Ukraine and loads of lorry’s where we arrived. I was chocked that we only saw one other truck from the UK and a group of mad Portuguese guys. More needs to be done to get aid to the front lines.
Oli - I think most towns had some sort of aid or assistance going on, Midhurst as a collective had a cohesion and a singular purpose of will, almost reminiscent of our English villages during the wars.
Andy - Whilst unloading my van, a Ukrainian man approached me and said that he was told we had come from the UK. He was he was grateful for what we were doing and that the sid we had brought wool go togged se. He himself was loading his vehicle with aid to take in to Ukraine.
Danny - I personally lost my mm, a friend and my dog in a three month period before Christmas and I was close to broken. When the Ukraine hit the news, the idea that millions of people were going to suffer worse than I did left me senseless for 48hrs. I knew I had to help because this time it was on out doorstep.
Matthew - One memory is of when we had stopped at the services in Poland, a Polish lorry driver winding his window down and giving the thumbs up and pointing saying “Ukraine?”, Yes I replied and he smiled and said “God save the Queen” which made me proud.
Paul Ramsey - “What at absolute honour and privilege it was to have had the opportunity to have been apart of this trip, Digby, Paul, Jake and the rest of the team did a great job making sure we all knew exactly what, where and when we had to be, well organised.
We are honoured that so many people have put their faith in us and donated to our fundraiser. Thank you all so much!
We are proud to be supported by The Gay Bikers Motorcycle Club with our second van, 'Baloo' flying the flag.
With our first departure date fast approaching we are packing, preparing and ensuring everything is set. Our boxes are filling up, our drivers are chosen and our teams are working hard to ensure everything is exact to give us the smoothest channel crossing possible. All our volunteered vans are named after Disney characters with Digby and Jake leading the charge in The Princess Jasmine.
St Mary Magdalene & St Denys is hosting for a short while on Sunday evening in the square to take a short moment to remember what we are doing this for, the people of Ukraine who have lost everything and to think of all the volunteers charging across Europe to provide aid. All are welcome to join us, of any faith or no faith.
Monday 14th, 11am we are all meeting on the square to wave off our vans. Please do join us.
We are slowly approaching the point where words fail to express our gratitude to everyone who has donated to Ukraine Sunflower Aid!
As of 9AM on Saturday 5th March, just over £22,700 has been donated to Ukraine Sunflower Aid on our JustGivingPage. As well as this, 6 donation buckets are filling up in local shops, wonderful businesses from across the country are offering to provide us with vans and various goods, and donators have bought everything from medical equipment to sleeping mats in to the drop-off location. Our lovely volunteers have been up at the very early hours to respond to the flood of messages of support who watched Digby Furneaux (founder) speak to Sky News.
We will be increasing the donation goal once again and aim to arrange ongoing support for those who need it. Please keep donating, sharing our page, and supporting the local businesses in Midhurst and surrounding areas who are helping Ukraine Sunflower Aid in so many unique ways.
Ukraine Sunflower Aid launched the fundraiser less than 24 hours ago hoping to raise £10,000 in two weeks to support the refugees of the war in Ukraine. By midday today so many amazing people have taken part in our fundraiser and have already raised the £10,000 and more.
Words cannot express how immensely grateful we are to everyone who has donated, shared the page and supported us with good thoughts.
Your donations are a clear sign of the love and generosity of the community we are so proud to be a part of, both physically in Midhurst, and online in places further afield.
We promise to spend every penny wisely and ask you to not stop donating, sharing and supporting the cause, as there is so much good to be done.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
The Ukraine Sunflower Aid
Ukraine Sunflower Aid in Midhurst is raising funds and donations for refugees of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Ukraine refugee crisis is one that we have not seen in Europe since the 1940’s and we must help in every way possible. We believe that our amazing community can make a real difference by donating cash, goods and volunteering their time for the cause.
On March 14th, a group of volunteers from Ukraine Sunflower Aid will be travelling to Poland to supply aid for Ukraine refugees. We ask for your help to transport and deliver as many donations as possible and provide a little bit of sunshine in this difficult time.
Your cash donation will fund brand new items, such as first aid equipment, toiletries and sanitary supplies, as well as the transportation costs.
Show Ukraine that we care, let the Ukrainian people know they are not on their own.
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Ukraine Sunflower Aid started crowdfunding
Leave a message of support
Sep 20, 2022
Well done, very very worthwhile
The Park Tavern, Chichester
Sep 15, 2022
Helene & Jess at CuffComms
Aug 17, 2022
Aug 16, 2022
Amazing work and dedication. Keep it up! Stay safe too!
Aug 4, 2022
From Weald Community Shop
Aug 2, 2022
Aug 2, 2022
You are doing what I wish I could do. 💛💙
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