Run 23 – December 2023

Documentation for the new customs process, submitted, van loaded with the final pick up in Weeze happening on the way and Run 23 was underway!

Huge thanks to all who donated aid: members and friends of Brighton & Hove City Brass, Uckfield Concert Brass, Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band – LGB Brass, Sussex Symphony Orchestra, Stand for Ukraine – Brighton&Hove, Guy and Liza in Weeze and Dee Johnson in Uckfield.

Special thanks to band audiences at The Westbourne and Brighton’s Christmas Concert for your kind financial donations and to Rick Bonner for allowing me to collect at his wonderful event in Eastbourne last week. Also David Cunningham and The Deane Sinfonia who performed my arrangement of Plyve Kacha with a retiring collection – together, you have covered my diesel costs for the run!

I was joined once again by Tony Line as co-driver and delivered to Zaporizhzhia where there is a desperate need for help – it was exactly a year ago that I made my first run with Mykee Hockham so very fitting that my anniversary run is to the same place!

Just some of the items that were in the van – although Shirley’s mum, who knitted 101 hats for children, was not included! 🙂

Ist update from Dover
The team arrived in Goch, DE

With new customs processes now in place together with protests at the border crossings by Polish farmers and truckers, we were mentally prepared for a long crossing time. Instead, we set a new personal best of just one hour!

Arrival at the border at Medyka

It was then the final drive to Kyiv where Tony would be staying for a couple of days. This led to our first exposure to the impact of recent rocket attacks. Tony had personally rented an apartment between Kyiv and Brovary but on arrival, we discovered it couldn’t be used as the water supply had been destroyed the night before. A quick change of apartment though and Andy was set for a sleep prior to the early start for Zaporizhzhia the following day.

Andy took some time out with Jimmy to talk through the implications of the new customs process – thanks to our pre-work on this, we had a problem free entry to Ukraine but this does mean some changes for us in what we do before a run. These changes are much clearer now!

Final update from the delivery in Zaporihzhia

The return trip to Kyiv exposed us to another issue – GPS interference by the Russians caused my sat-nav to fail and the trip back was beset by constant freezing of the map. Once back, Andy needed a sleep! (Zaporizhzhia and back in a day is brutal!). He was able to visit our Ukraine family in Brovary to drop off a few packages and some Christmas gifts. Sadly, as he was still recovering from one of the bugs that has been going around, he wasn’t able to stay with them to see the new year in and was in bed by around 9pm instead.

On New Year’s day, Andy & Tony visited Independence Square and St. Michael’s Cathedral to pay their respects. The increase in the number of flags there since our last visit was a sobering reminder that the war continues to take lives.

It’s always great to see immediate proof of our aid getting to the end user and Jimmy wasted no time! One of the items was a rag doll with clothes which was to be given as a Christmas present to a refugee – the recipient was absolutely delighted to receive it! I also gave him some UK patches to give out – one of these is being worn now by a Zaporizhzhia legend who collects money for the soldiers down there.

With special thanks to Stand for Ukraine – Brighton & Hove, we were able to support an animal shelter with dog food – here’s a short video Jimmy made when delivering there:

Helping our 4 legged friends

We also had a lot of medical aid on board which has also now been distributed out to local hospitals:

As those following the news will be aware, Kyiv received a lot of rockets over the festive period and the sound of sirens was something we heard a lot of. The nearest site to us was about 4 miles away. In Zaporizhzhia, it has long been a daily occurrence which sadly never makes it to main stream media.

New Year’s Day in Kyiv

We decided to return to the UK a day earlier than planned and started the long drive home. Once again, we were expecting delays at the border but sailed through in 2 hours!

Our return was only marred by needing to get rescue assistance in Germany when the van failed to start – fortunately, Andy’s van has such cover and we were back on the road in just over an hour! A new battery once we get home though!

And so, another successful run has been completed! But work is already in hand for runs 24 & 25! To enable us to continue our work, please consider donating to the cost of the runs via our Just Giving Page at :

Additional pictures of our aid being delivered by James and his team!

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