Harrogate Olga’s mercy mission to help Ukraine after parents chose to stay behind

A Ukranian woman who made a new life for herself in Harrogate 20 years ago is organising her own supply drop to the area where her parents chose to stay behind to help their country.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 3:11 pm

Olga Whiting, who lives at Yewdale Road, said that despite the dangers, most of her family had elected to remain in Ukraine to help refugees and defend their country.

“When the Russian army invaded, my brother joined the local territorial defence force,” said Olga. “Mum and dad decided to stay, too, to help refugees.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Harrogate personal fitness trainer, Olga Whiting, is organising for supplies to take over to refugees in Ukaine.

“They refused to come to England when the war started because they said there was work to be done at home.”

A hamlet of approximately 5,000 people lying north of Kyiv, Olga said that her family back in Nova Borova in Ukraine had seen for themselves the terrible consequences of Russian President Putin’s war.

“I used to visit my mum, dad and brother with his family often, We have stayed very close,” she said. “My mum is in Nova Borova, a village north of Kyiv, towards Belarus.

“Where she lives, they have had lots of refugees from Kyiv suburb. Some villages and towns have been completely destroyed.”

Olga, 44, is now collecting donations to send to Ukraine, including items such as food, personal hygiene, baby food, nappies and more for which she has arranged free


Since deciding to come to England 21 years ago, Olga has built up a successful personal trainer business in Harrogate with a private, exclusive-use gym at her home.

But there have been tough times in Olga’s life, even before Russia invaded her homeland just 43 days ago.

“I came to England in 2001, straight after university, partly because I wanted to learn English,” she said. “I met my husband and stayed till today and have an 18-years-old son, James, who was born here in Harrogate.

“Sadly my husband passed away after losing a battle to cancer when James was ten, so it was just the two of us from then on.”

Having started work in Harrogate as an accountant, Olga moved into the software industry.

She then re-qualified as personal trainer to work with people on an individual basis to restore mobility and build strength under her credo of “functional fitness.”

After sourcing transport to Ukraine via a driver in Grimsby, Olga is appealing for people to kindly keep on donating supplies for the next mission.

She is particularly interested in non-perishable food, baby food, nappies, personal hygiene items, medicine and first aid, batteries and power banks.

“I have free transport to take items all the way to my mum’s village at Nova Borova,” said Olga.

“I have to take the supplies to the driver in Grimsby but I actually don’t have a car, I usually borrow my son’s so if anyone wants to offer help to get stuff to Grimsby that would be awesome.”

Anyone who wants to donate any supplies to Olga Whiting for Ukraine should either call her on 07307876103 or email to: [email protected]

For more information on Olga’s approach to functional fitness, visit her UDB website at www.udb.fit