17 March 2022

Father of three to drive emergency supplies to Ukraine in borrowed van

17 March 2022

A father of three will drive from the UK to Poland’s border with war-torn Ukraine to deliver emergency supplies in a van borrowed from his antiques dealer father.

Frank Matthews, of Greenwich, south-east London, set up a JustGiving page – Lviv and Let Live – just over a week ago aiming to raise £5,000.

So far, more than £50,000 has been donated for items such as specialist frontline trauma kits and portable generators.

The 49-year-old broker, who grew up in Norfolk, said he wanted to do something to help as he watched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “with horror”.

Broker Frank Matthews, 49, of Greenwich, south east London, will drive emergency supplies to the Polish Ukraine border in a van borrowed from his antiques dealer father. (Frank Matthews/ PA)

He said a company has offered the use of a second van, with him and three friends setting off on Monday.

“I haven’t slept much this week from all the adrenaline, but the trip is coming together and I hope this could be the first of many,” Mr Matthews said.

“I’m liaising with a Ukrainian team over protocol and logistics for the handover but, so far, everything is going to plan. I just wish I could personally thank everyone who has helped so far.

“This is an ongoing humanitarian crisis and it’s only by people making donations that we can make a difference.”

Mr Matthews said he is working with suppliers to “obtain top quality medical kits” and has “secured major trauma dressings, combat tourniquets, stethoscopes, field resuscitators, and trauma surgical instruments”.

He said: “All are vital in the treatment of frontline soldiers, but also innocent civilians maimed or injured in this brutal war.

“With hospitals overwhelmed, it’s vital these mobile kits are made available.”

Mr Matthews said 30 boxes of supplies donated by students and staff at the University of East Anglia will also be transported.

“When the idea came up, my parents were fully behind me and offered the use of their van without a second thought,” he said.

“It’s usually employed lugging antiques around Norfolk but now it’s already full to the brim with supplies.

“When we arrive at the border, we will hand over the medical goods before buying another two van loads of essential humanitarian supplies locally to make the best use of our time, efforts and wonderful donations.”

Mr Matthews said he and his friends will offer transport to anyone who needs it while at the border.

To donate, see justgiving.com/crowdfunding/francis-matthews

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