East Finchley man makes sixth trip to Ukraine border to deliver supplies

Michael's third trip to the Ukraine border with supplies collected by ‘Help Ukraine Telford'

Michael's third trip to the Ukraine border with supplies collected by ‘Help Ukraine Telford' - Credit: Michael Byrne

An East Finchley man is about to complete his sixth trip to the Ukraine border to drop off supplies to people in need.

Michael Byrne, 54,  makes the 3,000-mile trip alone, often sleeping in his van, crossing border after border to deliver essential goods.

He said he is determined to do what he can during what he calls “everyone’s war”, vowing to continue making the journey.

“I can either stand back and do nothing or take some direct action, and then the direct action that was perceived to be more helpful was assisting the aid to get it where it needed to go,” said Michael.

Michael drives supplies from Support Ukraine Coordination Hub UK and Help Ukraine Telford free of charge.

He has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to help pay for future trips. Donations go towards the cost of fuel for the van, and he is saving to purchase more vehicles for a delivery service he is piloting. His plan is to one day be able to deliver parcels weekly to the border, as well as inside Ukraine.

The campaign has already raised more than £3,500 from more than 50 donors, with an overall target of £6,000. Once enough money is raised, he will recruit drivers and collect more supplies.

While speaking with volunteers at the border, Michael said he has witnessed a renewed sense of hope with each visit. He says the continued stream of supplies greatly boosts morale for Ukrainians, who tell him it helps them to feel that they "aren’t alone" in the fight against Russia.

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“[Arriving at the border] there is always a sense of achievement but the job is only partially done,” said Michael. “When I get to hear that the aid is being delivered into the conflict zones to those in need and we see photographic evidence of that, that's when there's a sense that the job is well done. It just makes you more determined on the drive back to do more.”