Incredible Harrogate volunteers arrive on Ukraine border after 1,550 mile journey to help refugees

Two Harrogate district businessman have arrived with supplies at the Polish-Ukranian border after a 1,550-mile mission to help refugees - and are getting set to hitchhike back to the UK.

By Graham Chalmers
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 2:03 pm
Setting off on a mission to Ukraine - Harrogate businessmen Mark Smith from The HACS Group one of the main sponsors, Ray Allott and James Fulcher.
Setting off on a mission to Ukraine - Harrogate businessmen Mark Smith from The HACS Group one of the main sponsors, Ray Allott and James Fulcher.

After setting off from Knaresborough on Saturday afternoon Ray Allott of Chimneycrete, a a Knaresborough-based firm which relines and repairs chimneys, in a 34-seater bus provided by Mark Smith of The HACS Group, the Harrogate-based building and civil engineering company, Ray arrived at around midnight on Sunday.

Now standing on the edge of Ukraine, the bus bearing the legend "Bus donated by Yorkshire, England to the people of Ukraine" is loaded with generators and radios but will be handed over to humanitarian activists on the ground to help get women and children out of Ukraine to other European countries, including the UK.

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The intrepid Ray and friend James Fulcher now intend to hitchhike back home.

He has also set up a justgiving page for people to donate to pay for their petrol and supply costs which has raised more than £5,000 so far.

On the Justgiving page, the hardy Harrogate-Knaresborough volunteers said:

"Our mission is to take vital supplies and transport to the people trapped in Ukraine.

"The items we want to supply are radios and electricity-generating equipment all transported in a bus which we will leave in Ukraine to help transport people out of the country, as we have contacts over in Ukraine to do this.

"We plan to hitchhike back, and leave the bus in Ukraine.

"We need to save as many lives as possible and is reliant on your contributions, so please do donate."