War in Ukraine: Wetherby residents stand in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees

The community of Wetherby have come together to provide a helping hand for Ukrainian refugees who are being forced to flee their country as Russia continues to invade.

By Lucy Chappell
Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:28 pm

Amid the horrors of the war in Ukraine, the community of Wetherby has come together to try and help the millions of people who are being to forced to flee their country.

These remain terrifying times for the people of Ukraine as Russian troops continue their march into the major cities, killing hundreds of civilians.

The village of Tockwith has partnered with Milanowek, a small town in Poland, to help them with accommodating refugees.

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Tockwith Church was lit up in blue and yellow to show solidarity and support for Ukraine

As a small community, they have raised just shy of £6,000 on a Go Fund Me page that was set up, plus a further £1,200 in cash donations in just seven days.

Jim Tinsley, organiser of the appeal, said: “Church members asked me to light up the church in blue and yellow to show solidarity with Ukraine and my wife and I both agreed that it was a nice idea to show support for Ukraine but that this gesture had to be backed up by some fundraising.

“Coincidentally, at the same time, we were hearing from friends in Poland about their preparations for the impending refugee crisis and had already sent them a sum of money which the very same day was used to buy bunk beds and new mattresses.

“The Vicar and Church Wardens all agreed to our fund raising with the community in Milanowek, so the church was lit up in yellow and blue.

“On day one of the war, the community in Milanowek began to prepare accommodation in flats, homes, garages, outhouses and virtually anywhere that they thought could be heated and made relatively comfortable for the refugees.

“Our appeal began with helping fund these plans, as each house and flat owner was putting in a lot of work at their own expense.

“Milanowek is full of refugees and we are helping to feed them, keep them warm, get the children into school and hopefully help the mothers and elders find employment.”

Andy Eddles is currently in the town of Milanowek helping with the campaign and he is overwhelmed by all the help and support they are getting.

He said: “The campaign has exceeded expectations and the generosity of the Tockwith community is heartwarming.

“Despite the amazing efforts of Poland, no one can cope with the three million refugees alone - it will take the whole continent.”

Jim and his partner Emma would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported the Tockwith and Milanowek appeal so far.

You can make a donation by visiting https://bit.ly/3u60NnkAlec Shelbrook, MP for Elmet and Rothwell, is aware of his residents’ concerns surrounding the ongoing war.

He said: “I know residents across Elmet and Rothwell are concerned about the plight of the Ukrainian people and the security of Europe.

“I’m grateful to the many constituents who have written to me with their concerns, which I hope you feel I reflected in the House of Commons last week.

“The UK’s military aid to Ukraine has been second to none and the Ministry of Defence reacted swiftly late last year with both lethal and non-lethal aid via Operation Orbital, training over 22,000 Ukrainian soldiers, delivering over 2,000 anti-armour missiles and providing further defensive military support especially in recent weeks.

“The United Kingdom proudly stands as the largest bilateral humanitarian donor to the country of Ukraine.”