Huddersfield businessman traveling to Ukraine with medical supplies after plea from friend

Richard is hoping to house refugees in a house he is renovating in Slovakia. Credit: Richard Drass/PA

A businessman from Huddersfield is delivering medical supplies to a hospital in Ukraine and hopes to house refugees in a house he is renovating in Slovakia.

Richard Dass, 55, has filled every inch of his 25-year-old Mazda Bongo motorhome with donated supplies and is heading across Poland on Thursday after setting off from his home in West Yorkshire earlier this week.

He set off for Ukraine after a friend, who is a doctor in the country, said that her hospital is desperate for basic equipment.

Mr Dass plans to take supplies to his friend’s hospital, which is about four hours south of Lviv, before returning with as many refugees he can put up in the former schoolhouse he is refurbishing in central Slovakia.

He said he spoke to his friend a few weeks ago as tensions in the region were rising.

Mr Dass said: “I said: ‘Anything at all I can do, you must let me know.’ She said: 'Don’t worry about us, we’re fine.'"

But Mr Dass said she rang back last week, saying the hospital was taking casualties from all over the country and was rapidly running out of every kind of supplies.

He said: “She said they are currently overwhelmed with injured people.

“She said they were running out of bandages, splints, sutures, She said she needed this equipment and I started making calls.”

Mr Dass runs his own business organising bespoke tours of the Himalayas and the Andes. A few years ago he bought the derelict schoolhouse in a village near the town of Liptovsky Hradok.

Mr Dass said he can accommodate at least 10 in the building and, if he can finish the floor in the old classroom, this total could rise to 20.

Richard is hoping that he will be in Ukraine by the end of the week. Credit: Richard Drass/PA

He said he will work out then whether some will need help to get to the UK or whether they will stay in his home longer term, hoping for a return to Ukraine.

He said: “When I see vulnerable people, I always feel that my pot of money can do more for them than it can for me, so it’s better spent on them.

Mr Dass said his Bongo is “packed to the roof with every little space packed with things like nitrile gloves” and he is hoping he will have no problem getting over the border.

But he said he is prepared for a possible two-day wait to get back out again.

More details of his plan can be found at