TWO ambulances have made the long journey from Leamington to Ukraine, writes David Harrop.
The ambulances purchased by The Polish Centre from donations given by Euro Car Parts and The Churches of Arden, made a 1,300 mile trip in preparation for use at hospitals in Shepitivka and Szarogrod.
Prior to leaving, the ambulances were filled with more donations, including food and cleaning products for a care home in Brzuchowice, also swimming pools and trampolines for children. Now in Poland, the ambulances will be converted to left hand drive to make them safe for use in Ukraine. They are set to be delivered on September 20.
Dawid Kozlowski, who heads up ‘Aid for Ukraine’ for The Polish Centre in Leamington and his colleagues from LKQ Eurocarparts – Richard Morgan, Pete Brookes and Mark Hill set off at 5am on August 1 on a gruelling three day road journey across Europe.
It was a long day taking them through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany – a journey of 13 hours before they reached their first stop in Dortmund that evening.
On day two the crew were up early, setting off on the 13 hour drive from Dortmund to Krakow in Poland. Staying overnight in Krakow, the next morning saw them on a long drive to a warehouse in Lezajsk in the east of Poland, where lorries with aid from Leamington are unloading before reaching its final destination in Ukraine.
Up to 18 HGV lorries are leaving this site heading to Central Distribution in Lviv.
Next stop was Lubaczów, a small town in eastern Poland where they met the Sisters from The Congregation of Saint Joseph. The sisters distribute the aid from The Polish Centre, run three nurseries, a care home for the disabled and open the doors of their monastery providing accommodation and food for refugees from Ukraine.
It was there at the monastery the team also had the privilege of meeting Ignat, a Ukrainian refugee who had an operation recently to restore his eyesight and Margerita, a 14 year-old artist from Ukraine. They came along with their parents to say thank you for the donations and for supporting the people of Ukraine.
They had all come to Poland the day before in case there would be a queue at the border as they didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet the team. Margerita and Ignat were practising what they were going to say in English for over a week. It was a touching moment when 14 years-old Ignat said, “thank you for giving me a chance to have a second life,” after The Polish Centre had paid for his eye surgery.
Following the meeting, the team headed into central Poland to Osiek Maly where the ambulances will be converted to left hand drive.
Finally day four found the team taking their flights back to England, exhausted with such a tiring trip, but feeling rewarded knowing their joint efforts will make a difference to where it counts, in the hospitals and with the people of Ukraine.
A Polish Centre spokesperson said: “A huge thank you goes out to LKQ Euro Car Parts for their generosity in funding the trip; paying our wages, accommodation, fuel costs, food, drinks and our airline tickets, so 100 per cent of the fundraising has gone and will go to the people and children of Ukraine, where it’s needed the most.
“Thank you also to Halfords for providing a free service for the ambulances, Aviva for car insurance and RAC for free European break down cover.”
The humanitarian contributions The Polish Centre is giving to Ukraine are regularly updated on it’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/PolishcentreLeamington
There is also an online fundraising page which can be visited here and their bank details are – PCM Leamington Spa 30-94-57 00723009 Ref. Ukraine