Waterlooville woman to bring 4 teen Ukrainian refugees back to the UK after their town was 'totally destroyed'

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A WATERLOOVILLE woman who ‘could not sit back’ while war-torn families ‘suffer’, is set to bring four Ukrainian teenagers back to the UK to live once their visas are approved.

Selfless Jo Cullimore is currently in the south of Poland with 15 refugees, including Illia, Nastia, Ester and Yurii, who will be making the journey home with her.

The 46-year-old felt compelled to help since she has a ‘number of friends’ in Ukraine and has visited the country several times.

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She had also opened her home to 17-year-old Illia in the past and has previously visited him in his flat, which has now been bombed.

Illia, Jo Cullimore, Ester and NastiaIllia, Jo Cullimore, Ester and Nastia
Illia, Jo Cullimore, Ester and Nastia

Speaking to The News from Poland, she said: ‘Their town of Borodyanka was totally destroyed by day six of the war. It’s impossible to live there and there are bodies under the rubble but they can't be searched as Russian troops are still in the small town. We have 15 friends still missing.

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‘So my friend, Nita Hebberd and I couldn’t sit back and let them suffer. We had two teens wanting help to we have. We found them and others a place to stay in Poland where they are also provided food, clothing, toiletries etc. It is a castle in southern Poland.

‘This is where we (my Dad and I) are staying at the moment. We have 15 refugees here at the moment. Four of these are teenagers we are bringing to Waterlooville – it was originally three but we have a plea from another family in Ukraine so we have got him from Kyiv to here and have started his visa process too.

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Left to right Yurii (17), Ester (18), Illia (17) and Nastia (19) from UkraineLeft to right Yurii (17), Ester (18), Illia (17) and Nastia (19) from Ukraine
Left to right Yurii (17), Ester (18), Illia (17) and Nastia (19) from Ukraine

‘We will bring the first three back to England – Illia, 17, Ester, 18 and Nastia, 19 – as soon as the visas are ready to collect, which should be any day now.

‘Then we will get the fourth teen, Yurii, back as soon as his comes through.’

It is planned Illia will stay with Jo, Nastia will stay Nita in Horndean, Ester will stay with a lady called Helen in Horndean and Yurii will stay with a family in Purbrook.

Jo added: ‘We are also helping another teen, currently in Germany, and a severely autistic boy who is 16.

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'He is currently in Kyiv. We are putting things in place before he is moved as he will need to be transported to England straight away as there are no facilities here.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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