In total four ex-NHS ambulances packed with critical medical supplies have been driven to Ukraine by Ambulance Aid volunteers, with the assistance of Medical Aid Ukraine – West Midlands and United Ukraine Foundation.
The two ambulances funded by donations to Ambulance Aid reached Ukraine on May 30 and have now arrived at frontline cities in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Dr Chris Lavy OBE, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Professor at Oxford University, offered to drive an ambulance the 2,100 km to the Polish border.
He is a member of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) who have also been coordinating sending medical supplies to Ukraine.
Chris also previously arranged the BBC’s donation of the Holby City ambulance to Ambulance Aid.
Dr Chris Lavy said: “What attracted me to Medical Aid Ukraine was that it is run by Ukrainian doctors here in the UK, who have regular contact with their colleagues in frontline hospitals.”
Dr Vivian Addy, Consultant Anaesthetist, former Head of Anaesthetics at Oxford University Hospitals also offered to drive.
The team was completed with volunteers including Ian Smith from Hampton Lucy and his friend of 30 years, Tim Spurgeon of Offenham.
They left Wellesbourne on Saturday for Oxford to collect co-drivers Chris and Vivian.
Volunteer driver, Ian Smith: “This was one of the most worthwhile and important things I’ve ever done.
"Seeing the look on the faces of the Ukrainian volunteers when we handed over the vehicles fuelled to the brim, brought home how much the efforts are valued of everyone involved.
"Behind every Spitfire pilot there were dozens of invaluable ground personnel, and it’s the same for our operation - we were just the delivery drivers.
"A touching end to our trip was the Polish taxi driver who refused our payment, to say thank you for helping the people of Ukraine.”
Dr Tania Hebert, the West Midlands coordinator for Medical Aid Ukraine (MAU), again oversaw the packing of donated medical supplies.
Medical supplies came from NHS Hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies, individuals, and community groups such as Crisis Comfort Carers Coventry, with Adam Evans and John Coote, and Ukrainians in Coventry and Warwickshire Medical and Humanitarian Aid Collection, with Natalka Mills and Mezze Ceramics in Nuneaton.
Multiple volunteer teams have been sorting and collating donations.
MAU have been based at Wellesbourne Airfield, thanks to Aeros Flight Training School.
Tania’s contacts from United Ukraine Foundation provided the customs paperwork and coordination of the drivers once in Europe, and the handover in Poland.
Next month the ambulance donated by the BBC from Holby City, will be delivered to Ukraine. Before it departs it will tour schools and community venues.
Ambulance Aid is appealing to businesses, clubs, schools and villages to fundraise or sponsor its own ambulance, to join the convoy.
MAU is also seeking medical supplies from healthcare settings as well as generators, field and emergency equipment, as well as volunteers. These supplies will be packed into the ambulances and directed to where they are most needed.
Donations can be given at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ambulance-aid-ukraine