Shropshire Star

Sixth trip to Ukraine for Telford man in mission to bring mobility to the country's disabled children

It's trike time for disabled children in some of Ukraine's orphanages.

Ray Rowland, Reece Greenfield, James Dowdall, Andrew Watson and David Pryce get the load ready to go

After delays caused by health issues and winter weather, David Pryce, from Wellington, Telford, is getting ready to set off on his 1,500-mile journey to take refurbished tricycles to disabled children in Ukraine's orphanages.

The 59-year-old, who runs Transportwise in Stafford Park, has spent much of the last year transporting aid and people to and from the Ukrainian border in Poland.

However, after being moved by hearing of the thousands of disabled children in Ukraine's orphanage, David, who himself lives with cerebral palsy, wanted to make his sixth trip a little different.

Last year, he purchased 25 used tricycles in the hope of bringing some joy, mobility and independence to some of the most vulnerable in the war-torn country.

Many of the trikes have been specially adapted for children with mobility issues. One such trike was lovingly restored for free by Scottish company Theraplay.

The original journey, scheduled for October last year, faced a setback after doctors recommended David delay.

"I had some health issues, but they seem to have resolved themselves," he explained.

"With the harsh winters that they face too, it just wasn't the right time. But now is the right time, and we can now start to get these important things to the places they need to go."

David's cargo has changed slightly since the first trip was planned, with a few of the trikes donated locally to families in need. Not that this has made his load any lighter.

Three folding wheelchairs, 120 pairs of elbow crutches, an ex-NHS ambulance stretcher, toys and additional medical items have all been added to his cargo, which required David to install a heavy-duty roof rack to carry the extra items.

On his way back, David will be returning with an extra-special cargo load, a visa-ready Ukrainian soldier who had been medically discharged.

The soldier recently underwent surgery for double-detached retinas and will be reunited with his wife and children who are already in the UK.

Since fundraising for the trip, David has been inundated with messages of support.

"I'm very grateful for the support," he explained back in October, "It gives me a great sense of pride, it's a real honour to be able to do this."

David will be setting off next Thursday, March 16 and expecting to reach the Ukrainian border by Monday. March 20.