Oban aid convoy heads to Ukraine

Dirk Campbell and Willie Bonniville with the Flit van that is being donated to the Ukraine to help deliver aid there

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More aid is set to go out on the road to Ukraine thanks to Oban fundraisers and drivers Dirk Campbell and Willie Bonniwell.

Dirk and Willie are due to set off on the 3,000 mile journey next Tuesday (April 19) in two Flit vans packed full with medical supplies, military boots and food.

Dirk Campbell and Willie Bonniwell of Flit Self Drive will also be carrying a cargo of insulin from the Independent Diabetes Trust.

The pair, who will also be carrying a cargo of insulin from the Independent Diabetes Trust, expect to reach the Slovakian border with the Ukraine around three days later and will return to the UK in just one van – the other is being donated by Willie of Flit Self Drive to a despatch centre desperately needing more vehicles to take supplies to where they are  needed most, including taking lifesaving aid out to frontline medics.

Dirk set up a Gofundme page to raise enough fuel money to get there and back. You can help by donating here: www.gofundme.com/f/st2bhv-medical-supplies-for-ukraine

The vans will also be carrying at least one extensive trauma kit that cost £600 each and have the capacity to save 10 lives.

Shauna Mackenzie, who started up the Oban Helps Ukraine appeal online, was hoping to buy a second kit before the vans left.

Lots of duct tape have also been donated by the likes of MKM, Jewsons, Homebase, Howdens and individuals to help stem major bleeds suffered in the war zone.

Oban Helps Ukraine has also put out appeals to other businesses UK-wide and are getting daily deliveries to send out to those in need – as well as more duct tape and pet food, they have also been sent a large number of power banks.

‘We are just a wee group in Oban, we are not a charity, but the response we are getting and offers of help are huge and are totally amazing,’ said Shauna, who is also looking for a bouncy castle that could be used to set up a safe children’s play area in one of the refugee centres.

Frustration over the delays with visas continues to grow as refugees who have host homes in Oban are still waiting for news on their applications. In the case of two Ukrainian families travelling together and waiting in Italy, some of them have had approvals but others in their groups have not.

‘They want to try and travel together. What makes it worse is that they only have a window of 30 days to travel, the worry is the approvals might run out before they can all come. There’s a lot of confusion and frustration. We’ve not had any clarification from Argyll and Bute Council about how ready they are – I’m not sure they are any clearer from the government.’

To keep up with the very latest events and appeals, check out Oban Helps Ukraine Facebook page.