UK farmers are doubling their original target to support Ukrainian soldiers with four-wheel drive vehicles. 

The initiative’s founders originally set out to provide 100 vehicles, but it has become clear that limitless numbers are needed and – thanks to huge generosity of the British farming community and, increasingly other sectors – the group are confident enough that they can double that target to 200.  

Forty-five vehicles have now been delivered over two trips and another 50 pledged. The original fundraising target of £100,000 has almost been reached, but will also be doubled to cover the cost of transporting the vehicles and bringing volunteer drivers back home.  

In addition to the generosity of private individuals and groups providing vehicles, donating funds and volunteering to drive the trucks to Ukraine, corporate donations have also been received from in the form of a quad bike and 10 generators from Springfield Properties, and four vehicles from Trinity Grain. 

Trips are planned monthly until at least June, with around 30 vehicles in each convoy. April’s consignment will include two vans which are being converted into ambulances by paramedics at a Suffolk charity.

Vince Gillingham, Pick-ups for Peace co-founder, who has just returned from delivering the second cohort of vehicles to Lviv, said:
“The war won’t wait, and we must do everything we can to help our friends in Ukraine. Our contacts there are overwhelmed by the generosity of all those who have given time, money, vehicles and urgent supplies for us to transport to the west of the country, however, we are agonisingly motivated to double our original target of 100 vehicles because Ukraine will take as many vehicles as we can send. 

“The pick-ups we’ve delivered have already and continue to save countless lives as they transport injured troops from the frontline and ferry generators and food to those who need them, including hospitals. The vehicles must drive extremely fast over rough ground and under constant bombardment. This is a humanitarian call. Please help.” 

Nicola Alexander of Cantyhall Farm, Fife, who also took part in the most recent trip, said: “I just wanted to help in any way I could. I had been sorting out supplies for the first trip at a local depot wanted to do more.  

“I feel so privileged to have taken part. Some of the soldiers we met in Ukraine were farmers like us; that is, until the war began. Hearing their stories of huge loss – of homes, friends, their children’s friends, and seeing the ever-growing burial site in Lviv, with newly-dug graves and their accompanying photos was so, so sad.  

“As we neared the border to go home, we had to get off the mini-bus and walk. There were miles and miles of vehicles leaving the country and you could see the sadness in the occupants’ faces; it completely took my mind off myself and my own problems and made me think about what’s going on in the world. 

“I got involved in this trip through my husband’s friend, Mark Laird, who helped start P4P, but there were five ladies on the trip, including a good friend of mine, who jumped at the chance to join just a few days before we departed. We’re looking to get more girls on future trips. I felt incredibly safe the whole time I was there. A lot of people want to help support Ukraine but don’t know how. If you want to support Pick-ups-for-Peace you can help by donating or volunteering.” 

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Vince Gillingham, co-founder P4P

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