Next Devon Ukraine aid mission will be bigger and better

Drivers taking a convoy of aid to people hit by the war in Ukraine this week will be keeping in touch using old-style CB radios. Mobile phones are not reliable enough to keep the drivers in touch with one another as they cross Europe with vital supplies.

So they are turning the clock back and tuning in to the truckers’ radios first made popular in the 1970s. “It’ll be just like the old song!” joked Steve McEvoy of Galmpton, who will be making a second trip to the Ukrainian border at the wheel of one of the vans laden with supplies. “The camaraderie has been wonderful.”



Steve McEvoy from Galmpton who is taking aid to Ukraine

The 56-year-old volunteer is joining a mission from the Cornwall and Devon Sending Love to Ukraine aid campaign, and online crowd-funding is well under way. “There is still a massive need for help in Ukraine,” he said.

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“The stories we have heard over the last few days and weeks are heartbreaking. Families are separated, children are separated, some are orphaned, there are horrific episodes of rape and abuse and millions of people have been displaced.”

Steve said he had been moved by television images to do something to help. “I started by asking the community to help me fill a taxi so I could drive over, but it has really grown from there. On the last convoy over I managed to fund two vans, and this time I am hoping for more.”

The Cornwall and Devon convoy numbered 13 vans last time it went out, and the next one will be bigger. Donated items will be delivered to a dedicated aid center in Warsaw, Poland, near the Ukrainian border.

“The main benefit of this type of help is that it immediately gets to the right people and places,” said Steve. “The vans used are small enough to avoid all the red tape and quickly and simply drive straight there, but still large enough to carry well over a tonne of cargo, like the largest one your Amazon delivery driver uses.”



A convoy on its way to Ukraine

Baby milk and baby food will be among the items taken, along with dried food and personal and sanitary items. The vans will also carry equipment for a hospital north of Mariupol which has been treating a number of victims of the fighting there.

“What got me involved was just the helplessness of seeing people reduced to desperation in what seemed like no time at all – people like you and me,” said Steve. “Suddenly all they have got is what they can carry.”

Steve’s wife and daughters are right behind his efforts, and supporting him as he puts his mission together. “We are not putting ourselves into massive danger,” he said. “We are not actually going into Ukraine.

“What we can do is to drive straight to where we have got to go, and the aid is in the hands of the right people the following day.”

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