FARNHAM and surrounding villages have once again mustered a huge emergency response – this time to support war-torn Ukraine.
Countless aid drives, fundraising events and peaceful protests have been organized by concerned members of the public, groups, businesses, sports clubs and schools.
And the first batches of donations have already made their way to Poland and Ukraine, to support those fighting and fleeing the Russian invaders.
Farnham and Waverley councils have also publicly shown solidarity with Ukraine, and MP Jeremy Hunt in a letter to the Prime Minister called on the UK to do more to support and welcome civilians caught up in the crisis.
Perhaps the quickest to mobilize this week was the Atomic Boxing Club, at Brambleton Hall in Wrecclesham, who have already sent a shipping container of lifesaving aid to Ukraine – with more to follow.
Club owner and boxing trainer Shane Carrington served 24 years in the Royal Engineers before leaving the military to start the family club last year.
However, old habits die hard and Shane found it impossible to watch the situation unfold in Ukraine without doing something about it.
So he reached out to a few old army buddies and let the Atomic club community know that he was collecting items to take to Kyiv.
Donations quickly piled up in the boxing gym – ranging from military-grade leather boots and sleeping bags to syringes, needles, tourniquets and bandages – and continue to pour in from all sides.
A team of committed volunteers took care of boxing these essential supplies, and the first container was dispatched over the weekend – in partnership with a group of Ukrainians living in the UK.
A second batch of supplies – this time focusing on items such as Calpol and nappies for families fleeing Ukraine in Poland – will be sent from Brambleton Hall this week.
Shane’s wife, Sarah, told the Herald“The community really wants to do something, and we wanted to give them that opportunity. It’s something really small compared to what Ukraine is going through, but it’s been good to do something to help. It’s amazing what people have given in such a short time.
Sarah added that the only problem facing their supply chain to Ukraine is the shortage of drivers, because the only thing that needs more than help in Ukraine are the fighters.
“Trucks arrive well in Ukraine,” she said, “but they are often not allowed to leave because the drivers are of fighting age. So they are trying to find more pilots.
Other collections for Ukraine have been organized by David Lloyd Leisure Club in Monkton Lane, Nuffield Health in Weybourne and many small businesses and groups across the city – with Farnham Aid for Refugees to host another aid drive tomorrow (Friday) at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea.
Two marches for Ukraine have now taken place in Farnham town centre, organized by the new ‘Farnham supports Ukraine‘ Facebook, and a peaceful protest was organized by sixth graders at Frensham Heights School last Friday.
However, ‘one area where we absolutely need to do more’, MP Jeremy Hunt said after co-signing a letter to the Prime Minister this week, ‘is support for refugees’.
The MP added: “Surely we should match the EU three-year visa? 1.7 million Ukrainians have now fled and no one can argue that they don’t have good reasons.