Shropshire farmer joins Pickups 4 Peace mission to support Ukraine
A Shropshire dairy farmer has reflected on a 'moving experience' after he travelled to Ukraine to deliver a pick-up truck to help people left devastated by Russia's brutal invasion.
Roly Tavernor and his son George joined a convoy of vehicles en-route to Lviv to support the Pickups 4 Peace charity.
Since its formation, the charity, started by farmer Mark Laird, Keith Dawson and Vince Gillingham, has focused on supplying four-wheel drive vehicles and urgently-needed aid to the people of Ukraine.
More than 200 pick-ups have been delivered so far with the charity committed to delivering as many as possible until the conflict is over. They are looking to go out once more in November before the full onset of the winter.
Vehicles are used to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as transporting injured soldiers from the front line to receive treatment.
Roly, from Norton in Hales, said: "I read an article in the NFU magazine a couple of months ago and because I had a spare pick-up, I thought it was a good idea."
"I spoke to the charity and got involved and George and I travelled over, sharing the driving, alongside another 30 plus pick-ups.
"Most of the people on the trip were farmers. We went from Hull to Rotterdam, on to Poland and then delivered the pick-ups into Lviv, with a police escort."
The farmers presented the vehicles to Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv, and Roly said the whole experience had brought home to tragedy of war.
He said: "It has been a very moving experience.
"The people in Lviv have been so grateful. It's a long way from the front line but you still understand what the war has been like for people.
"Life was carrying on in this very lovely, clean city because they are very resilient people, without question.
"They are a lot stronger for being in that situation.
"Despite being away from the front line, we still heard air raid sirens going off when we were there. People are trying to prepare themselves for the bombing which they are expecting over winter time.
"We also saw the war graves, which are expanding all of the time unfortunately. It really hits home when you see them.
"On the streets, you don't see many young men of 20-30-years-old."
He added: "I was glad to do something. It's a small token really but it was nice to hand the truck over, shake hands with people, speak to them and pass on good luck. I left a bottle of whisky in the glove box and a little note to wish them all the very best."
To support the charity, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pickupsforpeace