Waddesdon team completes five-day road trip to Poland transfering supplies to refugees fleeing Ukraine

A man from Waddesdon and three of his friends set off to Poland to support refugees fleeing Ukraine.

By James Lowson
Monday, 28th March 2022, 3:05 pm

Paul Harris who runs Buy Roof Slate organised for one lorry jam-packed full of goods to go out to Poland.

Within the container were bandages, food supplies, clothing, bedding, and much more.

Using his contacts in the supplies industry he along with other business leaders organised the convoy to support those left bereft after fleeing Ukraine.

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For five days, Paul and company, drove non-stop, completing a demanding rota, to ensure their goods reached a village, just one mile from the Polish border of Ukraine.

Each driver would take turns for a stint behind the wheel of roughly nine hours, resting proved difficult for the Ukraine support team given the magnitude and importance of their task.

Paul told The Bucks Herald: “I kept watching it on the telly, and I kept seeing the refugees, the women, the children coming across the border.

Paul and his team

"It kept playing on my mind, and I just thought to myself, I’ve got to do something about this.”

One contact supplied Paul with a vehicle, another had already collected extensive supplies to send to Ukraine via his haulage company in Nottingham.

Paul Taylor a business owner who helped Paul from Bucks, in the planning process, was also able to put him in touch with someone who lives near the Poland-Ukrainian border.

Once Paul reached his destination he was able to see how quickly the Polish people have organised an effective system for getting goods to those in need.

The team took a host of supplies with them

Vans and lorries full of supplies are taken into a warehouse and broken down into different sections, before being delivered by the Poles to refugees personally.

Paul added: “They take the supplies to them directly, they haven’t got to queue or beg, it’s a little bit more personal.

"We delivered our goods to our Polish contact, and she was actually going to deliver it to each person.

"All the people in that village, they are superb what they are doing, they’ve opened their arms up to all of them.”

The important message on Paul's company vehicle

Paul wanted to make sure his village had played their part at a time when people across the UK are sending support to those affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Once making his plans known to members of the Waddesdon Parish Council, villagers helped out making donations to assist with fuel and travel costs.

The most eerie and stark moment of the trip was when the group first saw tanks driving around Poland, Paul says.

Paul said: “Driving into Poland, the volume of traffic, before you know it, it just slowly disappears.”

While the drive and sleep deprivation took its toll on the team, Paul felt it was a really rewarding trip overall.

He said: “It was a real good experience, very very long, you’re governed by your hours in the lorries.

"We didn’t sleep, your mind was already focused on where you were going. We got home Saturday morning, and said: ‘mission accomplished’.

"On the way down I took some fancy dress outfits, I knew it was going to be a long ride, you have to have a bit of fun of your just sat in the lorry driving down, so I did put on my Superman outfit.”

Paul says he will be doing another trip and that people can contact his office at 0800 009 6061 for more details on how to help out people in Poland.