Clanfield community collection for Ukrainian refugees safely reaches Poland

STAFF at a firm in Clanfield have praised the ‘overwhelming’ community spirit after two full truckloads of supplies have reached Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Staff at Gibson & Gammon Estate Agents in Clanfield began a collection point at their office to gather supplies and funds for the people of Ukraine.

The Waterlooville and Clanfield communities have been ‘overwhelming in their generosity,’ collecting goods and offering what they can to support Ukrainian refugees as well as raising a total of over £2000 for the cause, they say.

The firm received donations from ‘anything and everything,’ including baby supplies, medical supplies, toiletries, clothes, blankets and more.

Paul Mann and Rupert Wright prepare to take donations to a refugee camp in Poland

Natalie Jeavons-Fellows, managing director of Gibson & Gammon, said: ‘Anything you can think of, we’ve got it. Our office, front to back, was full of boxes, we loaded the vans floor to ceiling and every day people would bring more. Their efforts are incredible.’

Natalie and staff at the company worked hard to spread the word of their campaign, posting flyers around the area detailing the drop-off point, to where people brought their donations.

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‘Over the last nine days we have been inundated with stuff, two transit vans left our office on Monday morning to drive to Poland,’ she says.

Ukrainian girl receives her gifts from the people of Clanfield and Waterlooville. Credit: Paul Mann

Paul Mann, who first suggested the idea of a collection in the community, drove over 24 hours to deliver the donations to the refugee camp in Poland, along with his friend Rupert Wright.

Paul said: ‘I was in the Army during the Cold War, I can kind of understand what’s going on which is what scared me to be honest. I just needed to do something.’

The two trucks carrying donations, supplies and whatever comforts residents could provide, began their journey to the Polish refugee centre on Monday at 11am, arriving in Medyka, Poland near the border of Ukraine at around 6am on Tuesday.

‘We drove for over 24 hours, when we arrived it was a bit surreal really. There were a lot of people walking around kind of dazed, not knowing where they’re going and organisations trying to help,’ he adds.

Two vans full of donations for Ukraine from the people of Clanfield and Waterlooville.

The pair delivered donations such as handmade teddies from a resident in Clanfield and cards made by a Polish Saturday school in Portsmouth.

‘When we gave the kids the handmaid toys and cards, their little faces were lighting up,’ said Paul.

‘It was just a little bit of happiness for them,’ he added.

The staff at Gibson & Gammon Estate Agents say they ‘could not have done it’ without the help of local firms Concise Removal And Storage Services, who provided all boxes free of charge and Clanfield Online who donated £500 to cover the cost of the ferries.

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