Ruddington Aid Reaches Ukraine

A big hearted duo from a Ruddington pub, who decided to collect together a van load of humanitarian aid and drive it to Ukraine themselves, have just returned home safely.

As previously reported, John Noble and Dave Frankie, the owner and manager of The Frame Breakers on High Street, set off last Sunday morning (20th March) on their epic return journey to Przemysl in Poland, near the Ukraine border. Thanks to generous donations from Ruddington and beyond, their hire van was stacked to capacity with food, warm clothing, sleeping bags, nappies, baby bottles, toiletries and more – all to be delivered to Ukranian refugees escaping Russia’s bombs. Not only that, their online appeal for financial support of £1,000 to help cover the cost of the journey – the van hire, ferry crossing and diesel – ended up receiving over £3,000! This meant they could help the aid effort financially, too.

Leaving Harwich on their way to Ukraine

John tells “The journey went really well. All the roads in Europe seem to always flow with no issues. The longest part was the second day, when we drove from Osnabruck in Germany to Krakow in Poland. That was just over 800 miles – basically the full length of the UK! We stayed over in Krakow and got up early to drive to Przemysl, which was about three hours away.”

That’s when there was a slight change to their original plans: “When we arrived and met Emily, our aid worker, we made the decision to not leave the items at the larger refugee camp (an old Tesco store) and instead pass them over to the aid worker – who arranged transport to take the items directly into Ukraine” says Dave. “Emily is only 23 and took herself there from Denmark with her friend (pictured top with Dave & John) because they also couldn’t sit back and do nothing. In the four weeks of being there what she has set up and achieved is absolutely amazing.”

John & Dave’s hire van packed with aid from Ruddington

Ruddington’s generous donations were transported onwards to Lviv, to a large shelter housing Ukrainian families. “They had virtually no access to food, bedding or medical supplies. These families had fled cities being attacked, but hadn’t made it to a border crossing. Sometimes they had their crossings rejected because they didn’t have a passport so had minimal options available to them.”

John explains: “Then, instead of purchasing more items at the major wholesale store, we funded their mission for at least another six weeks to keep their daily van going in and out of the Ukraine, and to allow them to then buy each day what is needed. Some of the money was spent straight away by the aid worker, to secure a large supply of insulin and its transportation. The Red Cross in Poland was not taking any supplies into the Ukraine direct – which is where they are needed. We saw piles and piles of boxes just sitting around at the camp that apparently the Red Cross were processing. Some had been there for over a week!”

A month in from Russia first launching its attacks on Ukraine, Dave admits: “It was a very harrowing and humbling experience, and very obvious from being there that a more direct approach is needed – which is why Emily has set all this up. We also met another chap from the UK who informed us he is doing the same thing. It seemed soon as the Red Cross got involved the process slowed to a halt.  They had been there themselves for five days, getting items, taking them to the border and pushing them over in a trolly. Someone on the other side loaded them into a van and took them to the shelters. You can’t take a vehicle over the border without a lot of paperwork.”
With their mission accomplished, John and Dave began their return journey on Wednesday – and decided to stop off in Prague (below) and Cologne as they made their way back to Holland to catch the ferry home. “We have been told our supplies reached Lviv; the sleeping bags are all now in use. We also purchased enough dog food to keep 24 dogs fed in a shelter in Ukraine for the next four weeks – and hear all the dogs in Irpin have now been fed and are happy!”
Dave Frankie and John Noble enjoying a well deserved pint in sunny Prague

Our humanitarian heroes arrived back in Ruddington in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 26th March) exhausted after their epic journey. However, they say there is much more to be done!

“We are hoping to be able to return in May, but this time fly there, to the airport near the border. We can then hire a vehicle and assist Emily with fetching the items from the large macro and retail park that’s about one hour away. These can then go daily over the crossing to the people in the Ukraine.”

They add: “We hope the people of Ruddington will continue to support the cause and allow us to continue to support them. It was a very emotional moment when we presented Emily with the offer of the finance to keep her and her team going. The two of them are working non-stop, even sleeping in the Ukraine at times in the shelters. She is going to keep us updated on her progress.”

Consequently, John and Dave’s fundraising is continuing – with their next target to reach £5,000 to help displaced families from the Ukraine. You can find The Frame Breakers’ JustGiving page >>HERE<<.

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