John’s Latest Ukraine Diary

Just a year after their first expedition to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine, a big hearted duo from a Ruddington pub have recently returned from driving further donations into the war-torn country.

After the partial Russian invasion there, early in 2022, with millions of Ukrainians displaced and fierce fighting from its military trying to defend their country from bombs and bullets ever since, there’s no sign of Vladimir Putin’s ambition to seize more of Ukraine waning just yet. Consequently, Dave Frankie and John Noble (pictured top), the manager and owner of The Frame Breakers on High Street, decided to head back there for a third time between 27th and 31st March 2023. They managed to travel into Ukraine during this trip and personally hand over essential items, using the money they’d been able to raise to help the hardest hit, homeless families.

John writes: “We managed to fundraise an extra £2928 on top of the £1157 we returned with from our last trip, giving us a grand total of £4085.  We have still managed to come back with £1061, as we ran out of time, however this is going towards our next run in June.*

“We flew into Krakow (in Poland) and drove to the border, where we parked up and crossed over on foot. We were met on the other side by Ewan from ReactAid, and headed off to Lviv where we stayed for two nights.

“On the first day we met with a Dr Yaser and Oksana, who work closely with Ewan for the delivery of medical supplies to the front line stabilisation units. We donated £400 to the service they are providing, which helped to purchase more of the life saving emergency EMT kits. Later we went for dinner with Dr Oksana.

“The following day me met with Anja Konstantynova, she had recently lost her brother who was defending on the front lines.. She continues to support their segment, and we helped with the supply of

  • Foldable Metal Shovels
  • Large Waterproof Ponchos
  • 2 Samsung Galaxy Tabs (they use these to communicate with their families as mobile phones are banned)

“Later that day Wendy arrived. She is a midwife who is half Polish and has been working on her own mission and alongside Ewan for the last year. We then all made a plan for the last day over dinner. Two children’s shelters, and two adult shelters are on the agenda.

“Next morning Dave and I went to the local toy store in Lviv and purchased as many toys as we could get. The lady on the till found us rather amusing, as we was getting everything! Next we went to the local supermarket and purchased bags and bags full of sweets and biscuits. These were delivered to both of the shelters, and the faces on the children when we was handing them out literally had you in tears. They was so grateful; their smiles melted you. Dave got us told off for playing football inside a church!”

“We then left Lviv and headed towards Mostyska to a hypermarket, to purchase microwaves, kettles, heaters and hair clippers… along with huge volumes of food. We stopped for a quick bite to eat in MacDonalds – when the air raid sirens went off and we were kicked out.  Luckily we had our food, so we just sat in the car an ate. Twenty minutes later the all-clear was given and we went into the hypermarket.

John & Dave with Wendy leaving the hypermarket

“We bought washing powder, shampoo, shower gel, nappies, baby milk, baby wipes, pasta, rice, vegetables, cheese, meat, spices, long life milk, cereal, 2 microwaves, 4 kettles, 4 heaters and 2 hair clippers. These were split 50/50 and taken to 2 adult/family shelters in the region. The last shelter was the one where our 2nd washing machine from trip 2 was installed, Wendy was keen for us to see it, so we knew she had followed through with her promise.

“The guys in this final shelter told us they hadn’t received a visit from anyone on the last eight weeks, and they are in the middle of nowhere so were down to the lowest levels on their essentials. They were so happy when we arrived, we had many tears and hugs.

When we left, we gave Wendy a further £250 to be spent on that shelter, as she was staying in Lviv for two more nights. She sent us a video of her return, a double supply of all essentials, extra washing power and shampoos, etc, loads of fresh meat for the freezer and even some beer for the old guy who was there. His face when she passed him the beer was priceless.. She also arranged for a hairdresser from Mostyska to visit and give them a much needed haircut!”

Although the duo returned to Ruddington from this latest spring mission with just over £1k left, they are now working hard on topping it up with a further £3,000, ready for their fourth visit. You can find the link to their latest ‘JustGiving’ crowdfunding appeal >>HERE<<.


*John reveals he and Dave’s next trip to Ukraine will be from 8th June to 20th June 2023: “Taking our time to get a lot done, as there is much more we can do while were are there in a physical sense too. We will be making our way there by vehicle this time; the long drive from Ruddington to Lviv, and then also onto Kyiv and hopefully Ivano-Frankivsk. Nearer this time we will be able to let people know the type of things we want to take over with us.

“We are planning to go in a old, diesel seven-seater people carrier which, when we have finished everything we need to do in it, can be left – for the use of the shelters to be able to transport goods and also families around (something they struggle with due to how many people there are). We will then cross the border on foot back to Poland and catch the train to Rzeszow airport and fly home to East Midlands.”

John and Dave then plan to ‘rest’ during the summer, but say they will go back to Ukraine, in late September, should the need still be there. That, of course, will depend upon how this lamentable conflict unfolds in the months ahead.

The Frame Breakers in Ruddington

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