A group of intrepid UK farmers are looking for support in their endeavor to supply 4x4 vehicles to the Ukrainian front line.
The farmers and others working in the agricultural sector have just delivered their first consignment of 22 4x4 vehicles to Lviv in western Ukraine, where they are being used to ferry injured and dead soldiers from the front line to hospitals.
The group are planning monthly missions until June with the aim of sending at least 100 vehicles. They are eager to hear from anyone who could donate an old pick-up or other 4x4 as well as money to help get the vehicles to Ukraine.
Vehicles can be up to 15 years old and have more than 100 miles on the clock but need a valid MOT and good tires. It costs around £1200 to transport each vehicle and provide accommodation and transport for the volunteer drivers back to the UK.
Volunteers on the most recent trip came from farming communities all around the UK, the youngest participant being 18 years old and the oldest 76.
The project is spearheaded by Vince Gillingham and Mark Laird, both of whom have strong connections to Ukraine.
Gillingham said: “Ukraine is under attack, and they are desperately short of four-wheel-drive non-military vehicles which are crucial to get food and medicine to their troops. We have plenty of these vehicles in the UK.
“It is so inspiring to see the good in the people who have given their vehicles, time and money to this project. It gives you a lot of hope for the world to see an 18-year-old who has only just passed his test driving all the way to Ukraine.
“I know Ukraine well but for most of our travelling companions it was their first visit, and it was remarkable to see how strong the cultural connections were. Our Ukrainian contacts could not believe that the UK farming community would do this for them. I urge anyone who can donate a vehicle or money to help us buy vehicles and pay other expenses for these missions to get in touch.”
Laird said: “Be in no doubt, these vehicles are saving lives, and Ukraine will take as many as we can send them. Ukraine is a farming nation, and many UK cereal producers have done well this year on the back of high grain prices and would like to give something back.
“I have worked in Ukraine for much of my professional life, and love the country and its extremely clever and friendly people. Please help us with this humanitarian gesture - anything that we can do to help as farmers is invaluable.”