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From Frome to Poland – one driver describes his experiences of delivering aid to Ukrainian refugees

A VOLUNTEER who helped transport humanitarian aid collected by local Frome woman, Karolina Kozub, to refugees arriving in Poland, has described his experiences of travelling across Europe.

Karolina’s home became a local drop-off point for aid that people wanted to donate to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and she was soon packed to the rafters with donations from generous Frome residents. In total, almost 100 boxes have been collected and passed on to the main collection point in Westbury, where they have begun the 1,100-mile-long trip across Europe to the Volunteer Centre Association in Lublin, Poland. 

A volunteer driver, Pete Sanders, who helped drive the first truck across Europe said, “As the drivers headed away from their families and towards the Ukrainian border, it soon became evident the scale of the number of refugees fleeing the war and the increased military presence. There was bus after bus of exhausted women and children being taken to places of safety within Poland. 

“The drivers arrived in Poland on Thursday 17th where they were met by a local charity and were escorted to the delivery point. It was freezing conditions at –10 degrees, but the unloading commenced and the vital aid was transferred over, ready for distribution to those in need. 

“After unloading, I spoke to a woman, Sophia, who normally processes the refugees over the border. The situation she described was devastating; she explained how earlier that day, a Ukrainian father arrived at the border with his two young children, giving them one last hug before passing them over to officials with nothing more than their passports and a phone number in hand. The last image of their father, through their tears, was him driving back across the border, back into the country he loves, to defend its freedom.” 

Over the last couple of weeks, the organisers of the aid transportation, Daykin Estates of Westbury, have instigated the delivery of over 100 tonnes of critical humanitarian aid within 20 miles of the Ukrainian/Polish border, all thanks to donations from people at the collection points in Melksham, Westbury, Frome and Trowbridge. 

Pete added, “After spending the night within 20 miles of the border, we made the journey back to the UK with a different perspective and a sombre feeling, knowing we were leaving people who had lost everything. Europe is experiencing its biggest influx of refugees since WW2, so the help we have received so far has really made a difference.” 

Pictured above: Donations from generous Frome residents have arrived in Poland

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