THE mayor of Liskeard felt “grateful” as he travelled to Ukraine alongside representatives from South East Cornwall to help deliver humanitarian aid to those in need.

Cllr Simon Cassidy travelled with Liskeard Radio presenter and Looe resident Mike Allsopp, as part of Cornwall and Devon Sending Love to Ukraine’s convoy last week. 

This will be the 19th trip that the Sending Love group has completed and consists of a convoy of seven vans. 

Community thanked for making trip possible

The journey began on Friday, February 9, when Cllr Cassidy met with the mayor, Cllr Tony Smith, and deputy mayor, Cllr Stephen Remington, of Looe as well as members of the Looe Lions and local Ukrainian resident of Looe, Nata, to pick up the last lot of donations – they also met with a team from Looe Lions who will soon be donating an ambulance to Ukraine.  

Cllr Cassidy said: “We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from people and organisations across Liskeard and Looe.”

Cllr Cassidy and Mike then prepared to drive the aid across Europe – the journey was set to take five days and cover 3,500 miles.

In the early hours of February 10, the team set off towards Dover to cross the channel. 

Following a ‘non-eventful’ crossing, Cllr Cassidy gave an update to say the team were in Duisburg, West Germany, and that they had successfully made it to their first overnight stay just in time to watch the Six Nations. 

The next day, the team travelled across Germany stopping at the former Cold War border crossing at Helmstedt midway between the east and the west. 

The convoy then travelled around 800km towards Poznan in Poland for their second overnight stay. 

Cllr Cassidy explained: “Road conditions were pretty terrible on the way over driving rain, foggy, struggle to see the vehicle in front of you, but we’re all here safe and still in good spirits.” 

The mayor took to social media to thank all those who had provided support ahead of the trip. 

He said: “Huge thank you to all those who sent us messages and support, people who have rang us, people who have donated on our JustGiving page.

“Onwards we go and thank you to Liskeard.” 

One of the vans which travelled as part of the convoy across Europe
One of the vans which travelled as part of the convoy across Europe ( )

Along the way, the convoy were able to pay a visit to Swiebodzin in western Poland where one of the largest statues of Jesus Christ is located – standing at 52.2 meters tall. 

On day three of the trip, the convoy arrived at the humanitarian hub where they met with the Ukrainian team who would be delivering the aid into the war-torn country. 

The aid consisted of 25 tons of warm clothing, blankets, personal items, medical equipment and much more. 

Some of the aid which has left at the humanitarian hub
Some of the aid left at the humanitarian hub ( )

Darren Tait, founder of Cornwall and Devon Sending Love to Ukraine, said: “Massive thank you to everybody that has donated to Cornwall and Devon Sending love to Ukraine. This is trip number 19 which Marks our 168 van of aid that has been delivered out to Ukraine as we speak a lot of the aid that we’ve just dropped off is being put in the back of a van to go straight down to a hospital in Kyiv including a medical bed of very specialised wheelchair and other medical items. 

“We cannot thank our donors enough for all the help they have given us to get this aid here. Thank you very much.”

Mike added: “It’s been an absolute honour to take part in this convoy alongside Liskeard’s amazing mayor Simon and the team from sending love to Ukraine.

“It really is emotional, but worthwhile all the same.

“Huge thanks to everybody from Liskeard and Looe who’ve donated for our van.”

Cllr Cassidy commented: “Well that’s seven vans unloaded and 25 tons of aid provided to our amazing Ukrainian friends here.

“The generosity of the people of South East Cornwall is immense. They are so very grateful for your love and support, as am I. 

“It’s been a really emotional afternoon, but rewarding all the same — now we begin the long trip back home.

“We will never give up on the Ukrainian people — as I know they would never give up on us! 

“Slava Ukraini [Glory to Ukraine].”

Cllr Simon Cassidy, Mike Allsopp alongside Arina Ð Ukrainian Humanitarian leader
Cllr Simon Cassidy, Mike Allsopp alongside Arina – Ukrainian Humanitarian leader ( )

Cllr Cassidy hopes to return on the next trip at the end of March, but this will be dependent on fundraising.  

“It would be great if any businesses could help with this as that is the struggle, the Ukrainian need is massive and we’re really struggling to help so anyone that can help with the own vans. Whether they run a fleet of vans could give some vans for us to take over that would be great.” Cllr Cassidy added.

The JustGiving page to donate to this trip is still live, however those wishing to help towards the next trip should contact Cllr Cassidy on 07967 096306 or email [email protected]