Wychwoods Ukrainian appeal

Like probably everyone else, my husband Ian and I are seriously upset about Ukraine. We both felt so helpless, so we decided doing something practical was needed in the Wychwoods. I discovered that Bourton Vale Equine Clinic were collecting goods bound for Poland, a scheme set up by their clinical director Greg Straniek and his wife Lorraine out in Poland; she is helping hundreds of refugees including pregnant women and orphans.

Rev Geoffrey Clement and the Rev Anne Hartley were very willing to use their churches as collection points.  Following on from hasty publicity, countless donations appeared in the churches. Packing boxes arrived thanks to Cotswold Carriers.  An overwhelming gathering of people young and old came to both churches including the Boy Scouts to help sort, box and label the tons of donations, a hive of activity leading to huge assemblies of boxes within just a couple of hours.

The following morning, people came with cars, trailers, vans and a horse lorry to take the donations to Bourton Vale.  The amount of donations was huge, so huge that a temporary halt was called to allow everything to be transferred to ongoing transport without bottlenecks; again, it was volunteers who ensured that as little time as possible was wasted.

That evening I was contacted by Philly Middleton about Irene of www.oursupport4ukraine.com  who had arranged a shipment bound for Ukraine to leave by 9 am the next morning from Bampton.  This was a tremendous challenge but again, one that was met by a team of helpers.  In double-quick time, a horse box, trailer and other vehicles were leaving both Milton and Shipton, bound for Bampton.  Vitali, the Ukrainian driver, arrived with a huge lorry. With loading complete, he left for Lviv with the hope that he could continue to the Kiev bomb shelters.

Still the task was not completed. There were yet more uncollected donations ready to send abroad.  Another horse lorry was summoned – the eventual destination for the donations this time was Poland.  Finished?  Not quite.  A further collection of travel cots and camp beds was soon also on the move.

This was, in summary, an enormous community effort, one that reflected great credit on our villages. Countless people kindly gave their time for what was a monumental effort and made it all possible within a week. I must also thank everyone who turned out cupboards and wardrobes to meet such a vast need. Let us hope that the Wychwoods’ contribution does some good. We do not know how this terrible situation will develop, but I think we should continue to provide support as long as there is a need.

Julia Sorrell

April – May 2022