How a small Harrogate van is bringing hope to the people of Ukraine

A Harrogate church is set to launch a new mercy mission with the help of two Ukrainians who escaped the conflict in their home country.

By Graham Chalmers
Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:46 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:49 am

After a successful round trip of 3,300 miles across Europe last month with a van full of supplies for Ukraine, Dr David Bolton of Mowbray Community Church in Harrogate is preparing for a second epic trip.

“Our first trip to Poland with supplies showed how much Ukraine needs all our help,” said Dr Bolton, who was a co-driver. “It was a privilege to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people, even in this relatively small but important way.

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From Harrogate to Ukraine with love - Mowbray Community Church senior pastor Dr David Bolton, Martin Harrison and Peter Fullarton.

“We are in the process of getting new supplies to take in our van and are still accepting donations on JustGiving.”

The humanitarian mission sees senior pastor Dr Bolton once again working with Central Eurasian Partners UK, a network of Christian mission organisations working throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

But this time he is being advised by two young Ukrainians who managed to flee their country in the very early stages of the Russian invasion.

Svitlana Nedilko and her cousin Alina Tkachuk hail from the north-west of their vast country where most of their family still live.

Ukrainian refugees Alina Tkachuk and Svitlana Nedilko pictured far left and right with aid workers Jools Clegg and Malcolm Clegg who are their charity links in Poland.

Both worked for Territory 2.2, a Christian-based education foundation in the town of Lutsk in Ukraine before war broke out.

Having fled across the border, the two 25-year-olds found sanctuary in Poland thanks to British missionary Malcolm Clegg and his American wife Jules who had been working in Poland and Ukraine for over 30 years with humanitarian groups such as Central Eurasian Partners.

Last weekend saw the two Ukrainians visit Mowbray Community Church to meet Dr Bolton and share their experiences.

Talking to the Harrogate Advertiser, Svitlana said: “No one believed Russia would invade so when we heard explosions on the first day it took us completely by surprise.

“I worked in day care but I realised on the first day that I would have to now help my country in a different way, so I decided to head for Poland and linked up Malcolm Clegg and his charity partners.

“My parents and brother and four sisters are all still there in Lutsk in the small apartment I let. They haven’t seen too much trouble so far but my dad and brother aren’t allowed to leave in case they are needed for military duty.

“What is most needed in Ukraine is medical supplies, especially insulin for children.

“Mowbray Community Church is doing a great job and we are very grateful for everyone’s support in Harrogate.”

Svitlana’s cousin Alina said the war had forced her family to move that very first weekend.

“The Russians invaded on the Thursday,” said Alina. “On the Saturday we were told we were leaving in one hour’s time to stay with friends of

my parents.

“But I decided to help by going to Poland and linking up with Malcolm and Central Eurasian Partners.”

The first mission for Ukraine saw the team from Mowbray Community Church raise more than £20,000 from church members and the public via a JustGiving campaign.

Dr Bolton shared driving duties with church members Martin Harrison and Peter Fullarton on their journey to Wraclaw, a Polish town lying south-west of Krakow on the road to Lviv across the border in Ukraine.

Dr Bolton said people’s continuing generosity would enable them to buy the exact supplies required and to cover transport and logistics costs on their second run.

Dr Bolton said: “On our first journey, we stayed in a house full of refugees for three nights which allowed us to enter their world a little.

“Our supplies were taken very quickly across the border and distributed where urgently needed by another

charity partner.”

If you would like to make a donation to their humanitarian mission to help Ukraine, please visit: