Appeal for community help as gas engineer prepares for humanitarian mission delivering six tonnes of vital aid from Portsmouth to Poland to assist with Ukraine crisis

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A PORTCHESTER man on a mission to ‘make the world a better place’ is appealing for help from his community so that he can help deliver vital aid to Ukraine.

Luke Hamblin is volunteering his time and money to organise the logistics of humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees fleeing war.

The 34-year-old gas engineer has already made one trip to Poland, delivering two and a half tonnes of vital aid donated by people across Hampshire and West Sussex.

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These crucial items were distributed to Ukrainian people in Poland and within Ukraine.

Luke Hamblin has already made one trip to Poland - and is preparing for a larger mission on March 23. Luke Hamblin has already made one trip to Poland - and is preparing for a larger mission on March 23.
Luke Hamblin has already made one trip to Poland - and is preparing for a larger mission on March 23.

Now, Luke and his team of volunteer drivers are preparing for another trip to drop off several more tonnes of donations - but needs help to put his plans into action.

He is asking for people to give what they can, either in donations of needed goods or money contributed to his Crowdfunder page.

Luke said: ‘Collecting donations from a kind hearted population is the easy part. Getting them across Europe is not. It's time consuming and expensive.

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‘By far, the hardest part in all of this is funding the transport. People will hand over a bag of donations and think that the job is done, but the costs of shipping them across are really high.’

Loading donations into one of the vans.Loading donations into one of the vans.
Loading donations into one of the vans.
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The second delivery is planned for March 23, when Luke will take six tonnes of aid in five vehicles to Poland.

He said: ‘This is a big operation, and sadly it doesn’t come cheap.

‘All assistance will be on a volunteer and not-for-profit basis. Funds raised will be used strictly for transport costs and charitable donations on the ground.’

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Two tonnes of vital aid were sent to Poland earlier this month.Two tonnes of vital aid were sent to Poland earlier this month.
Two tonnes of vital aid were sent to Poland earlier this month.

The 1st Cowplain scout group, supported by 1st Hart Plain and 2nd Waterlooville scouts, is offering support to Luke’s mission by hosting a drop off point for donations at the 1st Cowplain Scout Hut on Padnell Avenue.

On Sunday, March 20, from 10am to 2pm, the scouts will pack up boxes ready for Luke and his team to transport to Poland to support refugees.

Donations are needed on or before March 20, and for those who are unable to get to the Cowplain Scout HQ on March 20, donations can be delivered to 63 Rosemary Way before the day.

Items needed include sturdy packing boxes and tape, and items for displaced mothers and babies including nappies, wipes, sanitary items, baby medicine, ointments, baby wash, baby blankets, dental hygiene, soap bars, deodorant, towels, and blankets.

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The two vans filled with donations. The two vans filled with donations.
The two vans filled with donations.

Medical items such as thermal blankets, first aid boxes, bandages, painkillers, antiseptic, tourniquet kits, and celox haemostatic granules are also requested.

Frontline items such as warm hats, gloves and scarves, thermal clothing, camp beds, military/walking boots, camo kits, body armour/helmets, thermal camera, and ration packs are also being collected.

Luke said: ‘As well as those people kind enough to donate physically and financially I am working with a huge team of fantastic volunteers that are collecting donations, lobbying local businesses and fundraising.

‘I am also cooperating with local organisations who have also collected large amounts of donations, but are struggling to fund the logistics of getting them out to where they are needed.’

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The next delivery will be to the town of Slubice in Poland, where Luke and his team took the first batch of donations.

Luke said: ‘We will continue to work with the Grupa Pomagamy charity in Poland for the next trip as it is important to know that so much aid gets into Ukraine for those suffering in the warzone itself.

‘They have also received lots of displaced women and children recently so more attention will be focused on the needs of these individuals.’

As well as appealing for donations to his crowdfunding appeal, Luke is asking local companies to get in contact to ‘sponsor a van’.

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To help with van sponsorship, contact Luke on 07929 550014 or through the crowdfunding page.

Luke said: ‘Only essential costs are covered and everybody participating is a volunteer.

‘My personal savings only go so far, so we do sadly need the financial backing if this is to continue.’

The crowdfunding appeal is set at £25,000, which will be used to pay for continued assistance as the crisis in Ukraine continues.

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Luke said: ‘There is very little support across the board for delivery of human aid so while that problem exists, I will do my best to find a solution to the issue.

‘I would like to be able to offer at-least one delivery a month of several tonnes of humanitarian aid.’

Luke said: ‘All excess funds that cannot be used for our campaign or to offer help on the ground will be donated to the Red Cross.’

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Luke said: ‘I am not in this for the glory, the purpose of my mission is to really make a difference to people's lives. If I have to fund this myself, I will do.

‘If only everybody treated others as they'd wish to be treated if they were in the same circumstances, or better still, put others first, before even themselves, on a day-to-day basis, without bitterness, without resentment, and expecting nothing in return, the world would be a far better place.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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