Construction boss drives work van to Ukraine to hand out supplies

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The proprietor of a Birmingham-based contractor has spoken of his “emotional” travel to Ukraine to present supplies to refugees successful his enactment van.

Alex Willis, laminitis and manager of M Squared Building Services, said helium was confronted with “horrific” scenes connected accomplishment astatine Poland’s borderline with the war-torn country.

He travelled with 3 friends aft being stirred into enactment by upsetting scenes connected television.

“I person a small boy, and seeing the kids connected the quality made maine consciousness bad,” Willis told CN. “On Wednesday 2 March I acceptable up a Go Fund Me leafage – and by the Monday we were connected our way.”

Willis and his companions raised £4,500 from friends and contacts but were besides unexpectedly contacted by a fig of charities donating carnal items. Social media run Help to Make Tummies Full sent implicit 300 archetypal assistance kits, 300 foil blankets, 50 bottles of Calpol, 200 pairs of children’s gloves, and different supplies.

The M Squared-led squad spent overmuch of the play packing a institution van and borrowed trailer with everything donated.

“We near connected the Monday evening aft a mates of the lads had done a afloat day’s work,” said Willis. “We drove done the nighttime and aft 25 hours we reached Kraków, wherever we slept Tuesday nighttime successful a hotel.”

They roseate aboriginal the pursuing greeting and headed for the border, wherever things were little organised than they had imagined.

“We had nary plan,” said Willis. “The constabulary wanted america to driblet worldly astatine a section sports hallway but determination was no-one managing it and we could spot radical coming done with nothing.

“Instead, we went to a backstage car park, threw everything implicit the obstruction and acceptable up a benignant of stall. There was a dependable watercourse of radical walking into the state – it was horrific.

“The archetypal idiosyncratic I saw was a parent who had been walking for 3 days carrying a baby. We gave her a babe carrier; it was rather emotional. We enactment 200 pairs of gloves onto children’s hands that day.”

Fed up with perceived deficiency of enactment from authoritative organisations, the men crossed the borderline with a typical of the Red Cross and handed implicit h2o and nappies among different supplies.

After astir six hours they had fixed everything away.

“We drove backmost successful 1 go,” said Willis. “We returned connected Thursday night. I was precise tight, my backmost wounded and I was tired, but it was my wife’s grandad’s eightieth birthday, truthful we went retired for dinner.”

He urges others successful the manufacture to see making the travel but warns it was harder than expected.

“My acquisition and contacts helped and I had a squad moving projects backmost location that gave america a state to bash it. The logistics was breadstuff and food for us,” Willis said. “I would promote radical to bash it but don’t underestimate it. It was tough.”

The acquisition has not helped Willis consciousness amended erstwhile watching the quality – but has not enactment him disconnected repeating the effort.

“It has made maine angrier than ever, having witnessed the children coming through,” helium added. “I effort not to deliberation astir it. We are going backmost successful a mates of weeks arsenic we inactive person £3,000 of donations.

“We volition alert to Kraków, prosecute a van and bargain supplies successful Poland arsenic it is truthful overmuch cheaper. Then we volition spell consecutive to the aforesaid spot connected the border.”