Yesterday we were in Ukraine 🇺🇦. Today I am back at my desk 🇬🇧.
The contrast between the two is an apt analogy of the last few days. On the one hand we had a lot of fun, laughter, camaraderie, road food, early starts, fuel stops, intense conversation and hour upon hour of tedious driving. On the other hand we experienced a military burial, air raid sirens, amputee veterans and a nation of incredibly resilient people determined to carry on.
We spent 24hrs in Lviv and it was an intense and sobering experience, probably more so than I would care to admit.
On our convoy, we were lucky enough to be joined by Rob and Christine Parry, the parents of Chris Parry, a British aid worker killed in Ukraine. I will post reading links in the comments below.
It was such a privilege to have Rob & Christine join our journey, to witness their strength and to experience such a meaningful connection to the group we delivered our vehicles to. Upon arriving in our eventual destination (a backstreet Lviv auto workshop) after 1,300 miles of driving, we were greeted with pizza, vodka, speeches, incredible gratitude and honorary patches from various Ukranian military brigades. Rob & Christine also collected a medal that had been awarded to Chris posthumously for his humanitarian work. It was a special moment.
Our convoy was organised and led by an extraordinary man, Fynn W. He’s almost half my age and someone we are all now lucky enough to call a friend. For the work he’s done since the start of the conflict, Fynn has been awarded the highest civilian honour a volunteer can receive from the Ukrainian military (reading link in comments below).
There are too many memories in such a short space of time to communicate effectively. A picture says a thousand words so I will share a selection below. Rest assured the highlights covered a full range of emotions: happiness (arriving safely), gratitude (the warm reception we received from our hosts), humour (Fynn, our experienced convoy leader, getting his car stuck in the mud), sadness (a military gun salute and burial), intense frustration (hours spent at the Poland<>Ukrain border) and mild anxiety (ominous air raid sirens blaring across the city in the middle of the day).
All of this brings me to those that supported us… I can’t thank you enough for your generosity in supporting our mission. Our hosts in Lviv left us in no doubt that the vehicles we’ve donated are essential to protecting and saving lives. All of the money we raised will be used to buy medical evacuation vehicles, those that we have already delivered and also several more to come. If you are reading this and would like to support, or want to share it with others, our fundraising link is below and we would love you to be part of our journey 🙏❤️.