Armed Forces Veterans & the Salford community unite to support Ukraine. One week ago, we asked our community to come together to support Armed Forces Veterans and stand with Ukraine in our campaign. The response was terrific. Initially, we asked for donations of health products, hats, scarves, and gloves, as these items were the most in-demand; thankfully, our community listened. The generosity and kindness shown to us for this campaign were humbling; as a result, we were able to collect the items needed most. Your kindness meant that Martin Dunwoody and the lads from Salford were able to return to Ukraine with vans loaded with what the people in Ukraine desperately needed. Sadly, a lot has happened in this last week; as a result, we need to stand with Ukraine now, more than ever before.
Martin Dunwoody – Armed Forces Veteran.
Martin Dunwoody is an Armed Forces Veteran who went across to Ukraine last week with kindly gave us the list of what they needed. We agreed that we would keep in contact this week when they delivered your donations to stand with Ukraine. However, to capture the essence of the information Martin is sending, I am compelled to share today’s updates from Martin first. Firstly, Martin Dunwoody and the team move forward on their second journey and keeping in touch enabled him to report where your donations are going and deliver them to those who need them most. Secondly, Martin’s reports are a way we can see the reality of the war in Ukraine; finally, we can establish from these reports the exact ongoing needs of the Ukrainian people.
Friday 25.3.22- update.
‘Dearest friends, here’s the latest update. Yesterday’s long day culminated in a gratifying conclusion; here we are, safely delivering our precious cargo of two more elderly people to their families in Warsaw. A difficult setting full of emotions; desperation doesn’t really say what I’ve seen this week.
We must do more! With 300 people killed in one building, this is unacceptable in the 21st century. I’m here now in Warsaw central rail station; we’re volunteering for Tim Luke and me to ferry a family to wherever they need to go on our route home.
Tim is offering permanent accommodation at his place in the Lake District to a family of 3; I only wish I could do more. Furthermore, I constantly remind myself how little my efforts are making by the size of this humanitarian disaster; now is the time to be counted and say, “What can I do?”
The sights we have seen are heart-breaking.
‘There are many ways we can do more, and I hope my message isn’t too overwhelming. I want to press home what I’m experiencing and shout out loud on behalf of these homeless, destitute people. Sadly, we took a pregnant lady of 8 months, her mother and her young daughter out of Lviv. It was heart-wrenching as we watched them say goodbye to their husband, father and son in law.
This man was strong, and he was unlikely to witness the birth of his unborn child; if I said I didn’t shed a tear, well, don’t believe me, as you can imagine, I did. Thankfully, the positive side was that Tony and Adrian delivered this man’s family safely to their destination; however, this is just a drop in the ocean. Please, let’s stay focused and stand with Ukraine.’
The plight of Ukraine and its people will take a long time to heal.
After calling in Berlin with two more evacuees, Martin and the lads are en route back to the UK today. Thankfully, the support from the UK is staggering. As always, we show that when small communities join forces, we can make things happen. However, we know that this will not be a short-term solution. Sadly, the damage caused to Ukraine and its people will take a long time; to heal and repair.
The ever-changing landscape of war determines the needs of many people, not just those who flee their homes and countries. Sadly, it determines the urgent needs of the people left behind; women and children with babies, children too ill to travel, the elderly, and those in the hospital who had no choice but to stay behind. Therefore, Armed Forces Veteran Martin Dunwoody and the lads travel backwards and forwards to engage and understand their needs; subsequently, they relay them back and enable us to prepare them for the next journey.
The kindness of the community that stands with Ukraine is amazing.
Thankfully, when we launched the campaign two weeks ago, people dug deep, and they gave everything Martin needed to stand with Ukraine. The drop off point was at Pendleton Church in Salford. I, Libby Street, Yvonne Simms and Armed Forces Veteran Owen Hammond waited to take donations and then sorted everything in relevant tables, ready to load on the vans the next day.
Martin was worried about moving the donations on Sunday from Pendleton Church in Salford; there was a lot to carry. However, the power of social media is a powerful tool, and Martin made a last-minute call to a colleague in London, Vladimir, who thankfully drove up to Salford the following day (Sunday). Martin said, ‘Thanks to Vladimir, the rest of the donations were manageable, and from there, we travelled to Warsaw, where we could rest up for a few hours. We then continued to the Ukrainian border and our location inland, which I’ll not mention here for security reasons.’
The parishioners came out and helped load the vans; it was humbling.
Martin arrived at Pendleton Church on Sunday with Vladimir, but they were early; the Church Service had begun, and he told them they would have to wait until it had finished. The ladies at the church looked after them as they waited, they had a brew, and finally, after the service ended, they began to load the vans. Quietly, the parishioners from the service came out and kindly began to load up the vans with them.
Owen Hammond rang me at this point, and his call filled me with joy. Owen said, ‘Val, I wish you could have seen what happened here this morning. Everyone came out of the Church service and helped Martin and the lads load the vans. It was beautiful; they just got on with it, and they finished in a fraction of the time; it was a lovely sight to see.’
Thank you for being so supportive.
Thank you to everyone who helped; you were great, and it is humbling to see what we achieved as communities come together. More importantly, I thank Pendleton Church in Salford; you are always there as a beacon of hope; standing shoulder to shoulder with the community as they stand together with Ukraine.
Martin, the cost of fuel makes things more challenging.
I asked Martin when he intended to come back to the UK? He replied, ‘I’ll come back next week and then plan my third trip, providing my JustGiving page continues to do ok. A one-way trip costs £700 with ferry fuel and tolls, not including food and overnight stays.’
As you can imagine, the spiralling cost of fuel and towing heavy vans and trailers filled with donations is very expensive; now, he needs help. Also, Martin has had problems with his Just Giving account because he has to wait weeks for donated funds to be released. Subsequently, waiting for funds eats his cash flow; this is crucial as Martin has self-financed the previous journeys to stand with Ukraine. Thankfully, Martin has a PayPal account, email@example.com, and donations paid into this account are available immediately. If you could help, no matter how small, it makes a significant difference and is greatly appreciated!
The power of social media is vital to stand with Ukraine.
When the team left home last Monday, they drove to Colchester to meet other convoy members and continued their Warsaw journey. Once there, they loaded up the ambulance and trailer and used this to deliver medical supplies and generators. Thankfully, they had precious cargoes of much-needed and gratefully received hygiene products, sleeping bags, children’s and baby’s clothes and toys, baby and ladies products and baby formulas and nappies.
‘We are all together on this journey. We aim to stand with Ukraine and subsequently liberate more of these unfortunate souls, many of whom are extremely unwell. I say we; because I would never have been able to achieve so much without you and the compassion of your community. Thank you, everybody; your generosity is inspiring, and I’m proud to call you my friends.’
‘The warning from the Veteran who went to Ukraine.’
On Tuesday at 4.35 pm, Martin Dunwoody gave an interview on Forces.net titled, ‘The Warning from this Veteran who went to Ukraine.’
‘A former soldier who was embedded with fighters in the resistance effort in Ukraine is advising anyone in the UK thinking of joining the conflict to consider it carefully. Martin Dunwoody – who served with the Fusiliers – stayed on in an advisory role with forces after delivering aid to the country.’
‘Mr Dunwoody has warned anyone considering joining up that they must be ready for the reality of war and says some are going into battle woefully underprepared.’
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‘Government advice continues to warn UK nationals against travelling to Ukraine. The former Fusilier, who travelled initially for “purely humanitarian” reasons, emphasised that in Ukraine “, the reality is far from what you will see on the TV”.
He said: “When you’re in a bunker, freezing cold, you’re unarmed, so if the Russians came and assaulted that position, what would you do? More importantly, this is reality; it is not what you see in the movies.”
Mr Dunwoody added: “It is not what you’ll have experienced in Iraq or Afghanistan; it is a completely different role, in a different environment.” Martin’s interview is on this link. The warning from this veteran who went to Ukraine (forces.net)
Armed Forces Veterans stand shoulder to shoulder together.
On Wednesday, 23.3.22, Armed Forces Veteran Martin and the lads finally arrived in Warsaw; they were well and truly pooped. Thankfully, Tim Luke pulled a few strings with his parent company, Impact International (Polska), who happily offered accommodation for the weary travellers.
Martin said, ‘This is the second occasion our Polish friends have stood shoulder to shoulder with us. It is another example of support and unity in what the Ukrainian support group is doing to stand with Ukraine.’ ‘ However, let us all not lose the focus of our aims to alleviate suffering and offer some solace to those in desperation.” It’s time to remind everyone that you and your determined commitment to our cause made it possible, and we salute you all.’
Martin said, ‘I couldn’t ask for better people to accompany me on my travels; however, we know our humanitarian focus will rev upon crossing the border. Sadly, the stress levels peak as the shock sets in, and subsequently, we witness first-hand the catastrophe that has unfolded here.’
We spent the first night in a disused hospital.
‘Last night, we spent the night in a disused hospital in the heart of Lviv. It was an uneventful night, enough to give our location away without any triangulations, apart from Tony’s snoring. We were a little worse for wear, but eventually, we settled down, having first rehearsed our escape plan for a worst-case scenario.’
‘However, once awake, we showered, dressed and packed. We subsequently loaded the car and trailer with your valuable donations to distribute to those who needed them most.’ Martin continues, ‘As always, we will do our utmost to represent you; your compassion and support for these vulnerable displaced and confused people; it’s heart-breaking.’
Martin said ‘We now have two more elderly refugees who are on their way to safety; it is one of the most rewarding actions in my life. I am relieved and excited at what we’ve achieved.’ ‘These actions are hazardous and frustrating and coupled with feelings of helplessness; however, thank God, we’re finally through and returning to relative safety and stability.’
Martin needs medical supplies for the next trip; they also need modern military equipment, such as helmets and boots. More importantly, they need petrol generators and equipment to provide electricity supplies in the hospitals. Also, he has asked if anyone has body armour they don’t use; I assume he is referencing our Armed Forces friends here. Then please could they donate them and help those defending Ukraine with adequate protection?
The suffering of the Ukraine people continues without let up.
Martin shares, ‘The suffering of the Ukrainian people continues without letup; please continue to be mindful of the misery these people are enduring. More importantly, please, help us not to let the focus fade. I know that we all play a huge part in easing their discomfort; however, I believe it will be a part of our lives for some time. Stay with us and continue to offer your support in whatever way you can; subsequently, we will achieve our goals and objectives faster if we stand together.’
We are proud of our Veterans of the Armed Forces who lead the way forward; we know they will do everything they say to stand with the people and the children of Ukraine. As always, Verve CIC supports the Salford Armed Forces Veterans Community Centre CIC; as they continue to provide ongoing support within their community, helping those in need when they need it most.
Could you help us to stand up and be counted?
Communities who stand shoulder to shoulder together get things done. However, Martin is right; now is the time to stand up and be counted and say, ‘What can I do?’ Together, we can help stand with Ukraine until peace reigns once more. If you can help Martin and donate to help them with the travelling costs or support them, please get in touch on the form below.
Thank you; your support is appreciated.