A volunteer who helped deliver 350 tonnes of aid to front lines in Ukraine has been paralysed in a moped accident while on holiday in Spain.
Darius Linkus - who has lost the use of both legs - was one of the first people to offer help after war broke out in Ukraine last year.
And even after his accident last September, the 41-year-old was on his bed trying to arrange for generators to be delivered to Ukraine.
Friend Oliver Horsman, 43, said: “It was a bit of a frog-in-throat moment. He knew he was paralysed at that point but he was like, ‘I’ve got to do something’.
“It’s pretty crazy that he now needs other people’s help really – pretty tragic.”
He is now trying to help Mr Linkus and his wife - from Trimley St Mary in Suffolk - by fundraising for renovations to their home to make it accessible.
Mr Horsman said Mr Linkus, who works in import and export, was instrumental in their efforts to send aid to Ukraine.
With the help of social media, they generated about 350 tonnes worth of aid - which included surgical and first aid kits, incubators and military boots. They also helped pick up and drop off refugees.
He said: “Through Darius’s connections he managed to sort out all the import/export paperwork, get all the fixers on the borders for these vans that were going over.
“I believe we were the first British aid van over the border into Ukraine. Other ones were rejected and not able to get across.
“He ended up doing four or five trips himself and we facilitated 50 or 60 further trips to get that stuff over the border. He was constantly on the phone.”
Mr Horsman said Mr Linkus’s moped accident happened in September.
“He said to his wife, ‘Let’s get away for the weekend, it’s been pretty manic over the last few months’.
“They bought a ticket to Spain for the weekend, rented a moped and that was that. His front wheel hit a rock in the road.
“His wife was on the back of the moped with him. Both wearing helmets, both within the speed limit, nothing silly. It was just how they fell.
“They both broke their necks – she, however, can walk, although she has very little mobility in her shoulder because that was shattered.”
The couple are still in rehabilitation and a relative is helping to look after their three children.
Mr Horsman says the couple would need to make changes to their home - including converting their downstairs toilet into a disabled bathroom and the conservatory into a bedroom.
But they will need financial help as the couple have no income and “it’s been a crazy period for them to try to keep afloat”.
Mr Linkus had been sleeping in a hospital bed in the front room and having to be washed with a bowl of water by his bed, as he cannot get to the bathroom, said his friend.
Mr Horsman said: “He’s a very proud man, super giving. He will literally give you the shirt off his back.
“He’s not the kind of person who would put a [fundraising] page out there asking for help.
“He’s agreed finally, after months and months of me pushing him, for me to put that post up there.
“I just thought I had to help. He kind of inspired me.”
More than £4,000 has been donated within two days of the fundraising page going live.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know