Shropshire Star

Shropshire farming community urged to support campaign for Ukraine

A retired Shropshire farmer is urging people to back a charity campaign to supply 4x4 vehicles to the Ukrainian front line.

The P4P Group

Richard Smith, who was Downton Estates farm manager, near Ludlow, before he retired, is backing Pick-ups for Peace, which is looking to send 4x4 vehicles to Ukraine.

The Onibury resident and retired NFU member said: “I have reached out to some of my contacts in the farming community including some of the larger businesses, consultants and others. I would be more than happy to drive a pick-up or support any owners who want to drive themselves.

“I am just happy to do as much as I can to help and promote this worthwhile campaign.”

As part of the Pick-ups for Peace campaign, farmers and others working in the agricultural sector have just delivered their first consignment of 22 4x4 vehicles to Lviv in western Ukraine, where they are being used to ferry injured and dead soldiers from the front line to hospitals.

The group is planning monthly missions until June with the aim of sending at least 100 vehicles.

Richard Smith

They have said they are eager to hear from anyone who could donate an old pick-up or other 4x4 as well as money to help get the vehicles to Ukraine.

Campaigners have said vehicles can be up to 15 years old and have more than 100,000 miles on the clock, an MOT and good tyres. It costs around £1200 to transport each vehicle and provide accommodation and transport for the volunteer drivers back to the UK.

Volunteers on the most recent trip came from farming communities all around the UK, the youngest participant being 18 years old and the oldest 76.

The project is spearheaded by Vince Gillingham and Mark Laird, both of whom have strong connections to Ukraine. Mr Gillingham is a founding director of Agri-EPI and is its current chair.

Agri-EPI has a centre at Harper Adams University focused on pioneering and researching scientifically robust and commercially viable solutions to improve productivity and sustainability within the food production system.

The P4P Group

He said: “Ukraine is under attack, and they are desperately short of four-wheel-drive non-military vehicles which are crucial to get food and medicine to their troops. We have plenty of these vehicles in the UK. It is so inspiring to see the good in the people who have given their vehicles, time and money to this project. It gives you a lot of hope for the world to see an 18-year-old who has only just passed his test driving all the way to Ukraine.

“I know Ukraine well but for most of our travelling companions it was their first visit, and it was remarkable to see how strong the cultural connections were. Our Ukrainian contacts could not believe that the UK farming community would do this for them. I urge anyone who can donate a vehicle or money to help us buy vehicles and pay other expenses for these missions to get in touch.”

For more, visit go to @pickupsforpeace on Twitter.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.