Shropshire Star

Ricoh honours Telford toolmaker for incredible Ukraine support

An employee at a Telford firm has received recognition at an awards ceremony for the support he has offered people in war-torn Ukraine.

Last updated
Alan De La Hay

Ricoh UK Products Ltd (RPL) tool maker Alan De La Hay was honoured in the annual RICOH Digital Products (RDP) Ricoh Way Values Awards.

The online awards ceremony saw various Ricoh Group successes showcased to a global audience and Alan was the recipient of the Gold ‘Social Contribution’ award.

Alan and his partner, Ali Cosh, decided to rehome an individual displaced by the war in Ukraine through a Facebook group called Help Ukraine Telford (or HUT) as part of the governments ‘Homes for Ukraine’ appeal.

After an initial struggle with Visa applications, they were finally able to offer a home to Iryna Ivanchenko, from Kharkiv, whose apartment had been destroyed by a rocket.

Iryna stayed with Alan and Ali for four months, during which time she was fully and successfully integrated into UK life, and now lives and works in London as a nanny.

“I was so shocked and moved by the invasion of Ukraine, so felt I needed to do something to support those in need," Alan said. "For Iryna, the UK is her permanent home now."

During this same period, Alan continued to collect funds and donations for HUT and, already being a committee member, became one of the directors.

"I humbly accepted this award on behalf of all the committee members and directors at HUT who so willingly give their time (and in many cases their spare rooms) in supporting victims of the Ukraine conflict, and the wider public who supported with fundraising and donations,” Alan added.

Scott Pardoe, tooling supervisor, who nominated Alan, said: “Alan took the opportunity to secure an empty shop in Bridgnorth from between October and December 2022 free of charge from Apley Estate. In this brief spell, Alan and his partner raised around £5,000 to buy essential aid for the approaching Ukrainian winter.”

Dave Rogers, team leader, added: “Alan also used holidays from work so that he could ‘man’ the shop every Friday. He even worked Christmas Day! Alan and Ali worked with local schools to get ‘shoebox’ donations with presents inside, so children caught up in the conflict could still experience some joy during the festive period.”

The charitable efforts ensured ten 7.5-tonne lorry loads of supplies were sent to Ukraine, including food, warm clothing, children’s toys, medical supplies, chainsaws, petrol generators – and even a surgical portable wash station.

RICOH digital products president Katsunori Nakata said: “I would like to thank Alan and his partner for their vital social contribution activities, which highlights the importance of people connection.

"They put their hands up autonomously and voluntarily gave their time to support others. Alan is undoubtedly an asset to the Ricoh Family Group.”