The seven Bristol strangers who teamed up to help the war effort in Ukraine

A team of seven from Bristol in Lviv after driving medical vehicles to Ukraine
-Credit: (Image: Driving Ukraine)

A group of seven Bristolians are returning from Ukraine after volunteering to drive life-saving medical evacuation vehicles out to the embattled country to aid with their war effort against Russia.

The seven didn’t know each other before the trip, but each independently volunteered to help the charity DrivingUkraine, which sources vehicles - often 4x4s, trucks and old ambulances - to send to the front line to help the Ukrainian army ferry casualties to hospitals away from the front lines.

The individuals collectively raised £15,000 in a month before they went, and then embarked on a road trip from the UK, across western Europe to Poland and then the Ukrainian city of Lviv, to deliver the vehicles to DrivingUkraine’s depot there.

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The team shared the driving and it took three days to complete the 1,318 miles to the western Ukrainian city. The vehicles were also packed with orthopaedic aid to help medics on the front line. The idea is the brainchild of DrivingUkraine founder Fynn Watt, who said the organisation is always looking for people to volunteer to help out and take part in a road trip.

“These vehicles made it 110 now delivered by Driving Ukraine,” he said. “We donate medical and evacuation vehicles to Ukraine. For those who volunteer, it involves a month-long fundraising effort and then a three day convoy across Europe to deliver them to our workshop in Lviv.

“From there, they are camouflaged and modified and sent on to the front line to help with Ukraine’s war effort. The orthopaedic aid is distributed for those wounded,” he added.

A team of seven from Bristol in Lviv after driving medical vehicles to Ukraine
A team of seven from Bristol in Lviv after driving medical vehicles to Ukraine -Credit:Driving Ukraine

“We’re always looking for people to help out. They raise some funds, we source the vehicles, they drive them out there and we sort the rest. Then they fly back. It was a pure coincidence that seven in this convoy were from Bristol - they didn’t know each other beforehand but all signed up, which is great,” he added.

The ten-strong team, which included seven people from Bristol, were Oscar Prior Palmer, Freddie Clayton, Sam Puzey, Jack Phillips, Max Graef, Susan Richards, Stephen Higham, Jeroen Cocquyt, Oli Denny-Northover and Jake Simpson.

To find out more about DrivingUkraine - visit here.