The Nutbourne couple arrived in Poland to provide lifesaving aid to Ukrainian refugees
Stuart Ray and his wife Aleksandra traveled to Poland on Sunday March 27 from Sussex to provide aid to refugees fleeing the conflict.
Speaking before leaving, Stuart said: “The idea came about because my wife is Polish, obviously when the conflict started, having family still in Poland and her mum and dad, she was very anxious because that there are many Ukrainians going to Poland.
“She was worried it would spread to Poland and was talking to her friends back home and found out there was a group of women and children who literally showed up in her hometown with nothing but the shirts on the back.
“Turns out they were set up in the hotel where my wife and I had our reception just four years ago.
“So that makes it even more poignant for her.
“My wife has a small beauty salon in Hambrook and so she announced on her Instagram page and Facebook that she wanted to start collecting essentials and miscellaneous items from her colleagues and the response has been amazing.
“Her living room is almost full of stuff, clothes, baby stuff, diapers and all that kind of stuff. She just asked for essentials to keep them warm, fed, healthy and it all went from there.
“She organized it less than two weeks ago. We arrived on Saturday (19th March) and hired a container from Hambrook so we put everything in there and I only have a small van so not sure how I’m going to fit it in to be honest!
“But my wife didn’t want to send the aid with a generic charity. She wanted to make sure that what she collected, because of the proximity to her hometown and where we got married as well, she wanted to make sure those people actually got it.
“So I kind of raised my hand and said I’d put him in your van and take him there.
“I told my wife we had more than enough stuff in the van and I’ve done the trip before during summer vacation and things like that. It’s a decent two day trip and about 1,200 miles each way, which will take me a few days. “People are always donating, so that could potentially mean we go another time.
“We obviously keep an eye on the news like everyone else and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon and it seems to be getting worse and worse and whatever help we can do we’re more than happy to do it.
“I work in the motor trade in the Chichester area and I have a lot of contacts and I messaged last week telling friends and colleagues what I was doing and I had almost everyone to whom I had been texting to say ‘Well before you go come see me and either I’ll give you some money for gas or you can come and fill up the van on the business card
“I also wanted to make sure that we give a big thank you to everyone who has donated in one way or another.
“They are:- Chichester Tailors, The Pig in the South Downs Staff, Clients of Alex Ray Treatments, Chichester Cars, Cars of Chichester, RD Motors, Hambrook Cars, C20 Motorcars, Champneys Day Spa Chichester, JL Signs and Pinewood Nursing Home Chidham .”
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