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Pair drive from Needham, south Norfolk, to Ukraine to deliver supplies to Caritas aid workers



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A pair of retired next-door neighbours have travelled more than 1,000 miles from their homes in south Norfolk to deliver a van-load of essential supplies to war-torn Ukraine.

On Monday, as Russian rockets rained down on Lviv, 64-year-old Peter Bee and 70-year-old Glyn Jordan embarked on a two-day humanitarian mission to the city.

The best friends of 40 years were transporting £30,000 of trauma kits, sanitary products and army rations – all of which had been donated by residents across their home village of Needham.

Mr Bee and Mr Jordan, before they embarked on their journey to Ukraine. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
Mr Bee and Mr Jordan, before they embarked on their journey to Ukraine. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

Arriving at the Poland/Ukraine border on Tuesday, having not showered or slept in 48 hours, the pair managed to charm their way past border guards before meeting up with aid workers on the outskirts of the Lviv, where they offloaded their goods before heading back to Britain.

The plan was hatched by Mr Bee, who put a call out online for donations that he and Mr Jordan would personally deliver to Ukraine’s western front to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the terrors of their homeland.

The pair took more than £30,000 worth of supplies with them, that had been donated by residents across south Norfolk. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
The pair took more than £30,000 worth of supplies with them, that had been donated by residents across south Norfolk. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

“We couldn’t believe how many donations we got,” said Mr Bee, a grandfather-of-two who used to work as an HGV driver. “I even had people knocking on my door to give us money.”

“Then last Friday, we were at the pub and I said to Glyn, ‘what are you doing next week?’, and he said ‘nothing’, so I said ‘well, you’re coming to Poland with me’.”

Mr Jordan, a grandfather-of-two and former business owner who lives next door to Mr Bee in High Road, said: “I had seen what was happening on TV – I’ve got grandchildren and it broke my heart.

“I thought that, hopefully, we could make a little bit of a difference.”

Setting off at 3am, the pair made their way to Dover, got a ferry to Dunkirk, then drove through Belgium, Germany, Holland and Poland before finally reaching the Ukraine border.

“We drove non-stop through the night to get here,” said Mr Bee. “When we were driving, we had a Ukrainian flag on the van and all the drivers were tooting their horns in support.

“We said [to our families] we were going into Poland – we didn’t tell them we were going into Ukraine. But we had to. We had to get these goods right to the source.

“When we got to the border, it was very difficult to get through – the guards were afraid that there were spies trying to get into the country.

“But I said we needed to get to Lviv as we had important stuff and they let us through the roadblock.”

Mr Bee (second from right), pictured with members of Caritas. Picture: Peter Bee (55522919)
Mr Bee (second from right), pictured with members of Caritas. Picture: Peter Bee (55522919)

The pair had planned to carry on all the way to Lviv, but just 24 hours after a Russian missile strike on a military base in the city killed 35 people, they met half-a-dozen aid workers from humanitarian organisation Caritas on the outskirts of the city instead.

Speaking from Rava-Ruska, a city two miles to the east of the Polish border, Mr Bee described the scenes around him.

“Never in my life have I experienced something as harrowing as this,” he said.“All I see and all I feel here is fear – people are really frightened.”



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