Torbay super-volunteer Bob Ward is back on the road, and this time he has the crisis in Ukraine in his sights.
The one time Torquay butcher will be joined by his daughter, Emily Douglas for the 2500 mile round trip carrying urgently needed supplies to neighbouring Poland on the borders of the war-torn country.
They are leaving at the end of the month in a van supplied by Bob’s employers at Snows Mercedes Exeter, and the plan is to fill it to the brim with urgent food, sanitary clothing and products to make the refugees more comfortable in their time of need.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for the fuel, ferry and travel costs with a target of £2000. Any excess will go to charities organising travel for the refugees to get to the safety.
Bob and Emily, who will be sharing the driving have arranged to deliver the provisions to staff of the Norwegian Resources Committee who have set up a base just outside Warsaw Central Station
Bob first stepped up at the beginning of lockdown in 2020 when he acted as a rapid responder for the Helpline as well as working delivering and preparing food for Eat that Frog. When he discovered how much he hated peeling potatoes, he also bought a commercial potato peeler.
In addition, he walked dogs, helped someone living nearby with their shopping and maintaining their garden and went on trips to Bristol to pick up tons of food for the foodbanks supplied by the Torbay Food Alliance.
Even when he went back to work after furlough, he missed volunteering so much that he undertook a non-stop 12 hour coastal walk to raise money for Christmas food hampers distributed by his old colleagues at Eat that Frog.
When he saw what was happening in Ukraine, he knew he had to do something and got on the phone to his 43-year-old daughter, Emily, a mother of one from Bournemouth.
“Those that know my dad will know he is always raising funds for charity, so when he called me to ask if I’d share the drive to the Ukraine border to provide the refugees with urgent supplies, I couldn’t say no,” she said
“It will certainly be an emotional trip for both of us and I am grateful to Bob for asking me to be his wingman!,” added the 43-year-old make up artist.
Then came the favour from Snows, where he works as a delivery driver, and the project snowballed from there with donations of money and practical supplies coming in from across both Devon and Bournemouth
They have already nicknamed the van, Snowy and have a mascot owl ready to perch on the dashboard and will be posting regular updates on their journey, which starts on Wednesday, May 4th via their Where’s Snowy? blog which will be available via their GoFundMe page.
“I couldn’t just sit and watch it all unfold on my television day after day. It is war, being fought in real time, with real people, real casualties and millions of displaced people. People just like you and me. It is devastating,” said an emotional Bob, “You cannot believe that this would happen in this day and age. And what of the children? I can’t believe it. I had to do something and Emily felt the same.”
If you wish to make a contribution https://bit.ly/BobandEmily
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