Ukraine Aid: Lucy Electric Thame Donates Van for Ukraine Aid Runs

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, numerous local groups in the UK were inspired to take action and provide aid to those affected by the conflict. Among these groups, Banbury took unique approach to assist the Ukrainian people in their time of need. Led by James Clarke, the Managing Director of Hook Norton brewery, this dedicated team initiated aid runs to Ukraine using older 4x4s and vans filled with essential supplies. Over time, their efforts have grown, garnering support from various communities and making a significant impact in the lives of those they help.

The aid runs began in March of the previous year when the invasion was at its height. Local groups across the area were actively collecting various aid items, and the team, acting as a collection point, felt compelled to get more involved. Initially, they considered sending an ambulance, but they soon realised that smaller vehicles and trucks were in greater demand on the ground in Ukraine. So, they shifted their focus to acquiring older 4x4s, which proved to be invaluable in navigating the challenging terrain and delivering aid effectively.

The heart of the aid runs lies in the collection, loading, and transportation of essential supplies to Ukraine. Blankets, food, clothing, medical supplies, and vehicle spares are carefully gathered by a dedicated team of supporters. The donated 4x4s and vans are loaded up with these items and driven to Lviv, where the aid is distributed to those in need. Each vehicle costs around £2000, and the generosity of vehicle donations significantly aids the group’s efforts. Additionally, the partnership with Help and Hope Together, based in Banbury, further strengthens their impact.

The success of the aid runs extends beyond the delivery of much-needed supplies. Personal connections formed along the way have played a crucial role in driving support for the initiative. Local businesses, like Lucy Electric in Thame, have been inspired to contribute, donating one of their old service vans to the cause. What started as a small group has now grown into a substantial force, thanks to the involvement of individuals from the local community, fundraising teams, collectors, and sorters of donations.

The impact of these aid runs has been profound. James Clarke shared an inspiring encounter with the Mayor of Mariupol during a visit to Banbury. The Mayor emphasised the effectiveness of their direct approach, “the small teams from across so many communities in the UK, going directly to those who need our help, is by far the best way.  We have seen how the vehicles are used, and we have personally delivered aid to hospitals, and see the work they are doing.  We have also supported some orphanages and met children who have needed our help.”

Lucy Electric is proud to have supported this organisation and is pleased that their old service van is now being used to alleviate the suffering of those in need. Together, they demonstrate the power of compassion and solidarity in times of crisis.

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