Your donations have made it to those in need in Ukraine - thanks to a volunteers at Leamington's Polish Centre

Prior to leaving, the ambulances had a blessing (has we previously reported) and were filled to capacity with more donations, including food and cleaning products for a care home in Brzuchowice, also swimming pools and trampolines for children

The Sisters from The Congregation of St Joseph with Ignat and Margarita
The Sisters from The Congregation of St Joseph with Ignat and Margarita

Making a Difference where it Counts, written by David Harrop

Prior to leaving, the ambulances had a blessing (which we previously reported) and were filled to capacity with more donations, including food and cleaning products for a care home in Brzuchowice, also swimming pools and trampolines for children.

Now in Poland, the ambulances will be converted to left hand drive to make them safe for use in Ukraine - with an ETA for delivery to the hospitals in Ukraine on September 20.

The ambulances 1,308-mile road trip across Europe

Dawid Kozlowski, who heads up ‘Aid for Ukraine’ for The Polish Centre in Leamington, and his colleagues from LKQ Eurocarparts - chief operating officer Richard Morgan; divisional director Pete Brookes and regional manager Mark Hill - set off at 5am on Monday August 1 on a gruelling three day road journey across Europe.

It was a long day taking them through five countries (UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany), a journey of 13 hours of non-stop driving, reaching their first stop in Dortmund on Monday evening.

On day two the crew were up early, setting off on the 13-hour drive from Dortmund to beautiful Krakow in Poland. Staying overnight in Krakow, the next morning saw them on a long drive to a warehouse in Lezajsk, east Poland, where lorries with aid from Leamington Spa are unloading before reaching its final destination in Ukraine. Up to 18 HGV lorries are leaving this site heading to Central Distribution in Lviv.

Next stop was Lubaczów, a small town in east Poland where they met the Sisters from The Congregation of Saint Joseph. The Sisters distribute the aid from The Polish Centre, run three nurseries, a care home for the disabled and open the doors of their monastery providing accommodation and food for refugees from Ukraine.

The team from LKQ Euro Car Parts from left to right: Regional manager Mark Hill, demand planner Dawid Kozlowski, divisional director Pete Brookes and chief operating officer Richard Morgan.

It was there at the monastery the team also had the privilege of meeting Ignat, a Ukrainian refugee who had an operation recently to restore his eyesight and Margerita, a 14-year-old artist from Ukraine. They came along with their parents to say thank you for the donations and for supporting the people of Ukraine.

They had all come to Poland the day before in case there would be a queue at the border as they didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet the team. Margerita and Ignat were practising what they were going to say in English for over a week! It was a touching moment when 14-year-old Ignat said, "thank you for giving me a chance to have a second life," after The Polish Centre had paid for his eye surgery.

Following the meeting, the team headed into central Poland to Osiek Maly where the ambulances will be converted to left hand drive.

A huge thank you goes out to LKQ Euro Car Parts for their generosity in funding the trip; paying our wages, accommodation, fuel costs, food, drinks and our airline tickets, so 100 per cent of the fundraising has gone and will go to the people and children of Ukraine, where it’s needed the most. Thank you Halfords for providing a free service for the ambulances, Aviva for car insurance and RAC for free European break down cover.

A celebration meal for everyone with The Sisters in Lubaczów

Finally, day four found the team taking their flights back to England, exhausted with such a tiring trip, but feeling rewarded knowing their joint efforts will make a difference to where it counts, in the hospitals and with the people of war torn Ukraine.

The wonderful humanitarian contributions The Polish Centre are giving to Ukraine are regularly updated on it’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PolishcentreLeamington

There is also an online fundraising page which can be visited here https://bit.ly/39cVI63

Their bank details are: PCM Leamington Spa, 30-94-57, 00723009, Ref. Ukraine