Pub landlord's Ukrainian aid mission en-route to Poland
A pub landlord is hoping to arrive at the Polish border with aid for Ukrainian refugees by Monday afternoon.
Neale Chandler, landlord of The Kings Arms, in Eccleshall, is currently making his way across Europe with a van-load of donated items to help those fleeing the Russian invasion.
Speaking to the Star on Sunday, the 52-year-old said he and his companions had reached Belgium and were taking a break on the outskirts of Brussels before continuing their aim to reach the Polish border with Ukraine.
He said: "We are hoping to do about 800 miles today. We have done 350 at the moment, then another 550 tomorrow. We are hoping to get to that end of Poland by tomorrow afternoon."
Mr Chandler has been joined by friends Carl Miller and Danny Gratton for the mission, with the Vauxhall Vivaro packed to bursting point with medical supplies, nappies, sleeping bags and other essential items.
The collection, which was launched a week ago, vastly exceeded expectations, with so much donated that Mr Chandler said they have had to pass on other duvets, blankets and items which could not fit in the van, to another organisation which will be sending lorries full of support from London.
"The van is full, literally to the roof," he said.
"The generosity of people has been incredible. We put a call out for action last Sunday and by the Monday even we were turning people away. I was looking at the van thinking 'how will I get it in?'."
Mr Chandler said there were about 40 boxes of aid in the vehicle, with the aim to get it to the eastern border of Poland.
He said they hoped to meet up with a group which will distribute the aid, but if not they would just get to the border and offer it themselves to those from Ukraine who need the help.
The landlord said the horror of the situation had inspired many people who just wanted to do whatever they can to help.
He said: "You have to do something to help. This is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed but if we can help a dozen people that is fantastic. You have got to do what you can."