A brave band of Britons are driving more than 1,500 miles to Ukraine with £30,000 worth of vital supplies packed into their caravans – including 200 Cornish pasties. The team of Pete Masters, 55, and Luke Goodson, 30, from Hereford, and Cornishmen Pete Dunstone, 59, and Jed Lewis, 58, set off on Saturday on a mercy mission to the war-torn country. Each team will be driving an Isuzu Trooper pulling a caravan packed full of supplies, all of which including the vehicles, will be handed over at a refugee camp near Lutsk in Ukraine.
Supplies include medical kits, medicines, generators, solar panels, clothing, toys, toiletries, animal food – and Cornish pasties.
A group organising the trip has already taken roughly £100,000 worth of donations, as well as spending more than £25,000 on other caravans and 4X4s given to the Ukrainians.
Now thanks to the network established during five previous trips by other drivers, this team are able to get more vital supplies into the country. A Ukrainian doctor called Andrii Koshara will meet the caravan convoy and take over driving duty from the Cornish team.
Following the doctor will be Mr Masters, owner of Skinzophrenic Tattoos, in Hereford, who has already travelled to Ukraine twice since the war began, helping civilians and as a war photographer.
He and Mr Goodson will be the only members of the team from the UK travelling with the vehicles and supplies into Ukraine.
He told Express.co.uk: “I’ve never pulled a caravan before and now I’m going to be taking two into a war zone. For me, I’m committed now to helping the Ukrainian people until the war is over.
“Once we get to the refugee camp in Lutsk in Ukraine, we’ll be met by an armed escort all the way to the frontline near Bakhmut as a thank you. As a war photographer, I want to get to the frontline, but the humanitarian side is why I am going.
“The opportunity to help people and do something positive for these people is really important. I was there over at Christmas helping complete strangers trying to do all I could for them.
“I’ll be taking a lot of stuff that people I have met in Ukraine have personally asked me to get them, medicines, a walking frame, even little things which we all take for granted, like certain toiletries.”
Mr Dunstone, a former primary school teacher, and Mr Lewis, a retired secondary school teacher – both from Rame Peninsula in Cornwall – will be driving to Lublin, close to the Polish border with Ukraine, before handing their caravan and truck over.
Mr Dunstone, a father-of-three who has just become a grandfather for the second time, said the caravans can be used for accommodation in Ukraine once they are emptied of donations.
He said: “Jed and I are in charge of pasties, those other guys, they’re Hereford boys, so I don’t know what they are taking.
“Our very good friend Louise, who runs the Cornish Pod, she’s frozen down a big box of pasties which will be ready to eat for the Ukrainians once everything has arrived.
“We are going to try to give people a little bit of comfort, whether it’s with food or supplies or equipment, in a very distressing time for them, we just want to do our bit.”
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Dad-of-three Mr Lewis said he wanted to get involved from the start of the Russian invasion to do something to help the people in Ukraine.
He believes that the Cornish pasties will be “like spinach was for Popeye” in helping the Ukrainians stop Putin.
He said: “We wouldn’t want it to happen to us here, and we have a beautiful community on the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall and everyone has been doing everything they can to help.
“All the way through people have been giving whatever they can to us, donating money, equipment, generators, clothes and all sorts of help. We had a mechanic stay up all night donating his time fixing the truck last time.
“Putin is waging a war of attrition really on the people of Ukraine, as well as forcing his own troops into doing all these things, it’s a horrible situation. We shouldn’t be throwing missiles around this day and age, we should find a better and a peaceful solution.”
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