Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool returns to Ukraine with church aid from across the north west

Video report by ITV Granada Reports' Merseyside Correspondent Andy Bonner

A group of volunteers is returning to the Ukrainian border to deliver more aid donated by people across north west England.

It follows an appeal by the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, which covers much of Merseyside, parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire and the Isle of Man.

In March 2022, a shipment of medical supplies, baby products, toiletries, bedding and rucksacks was driven to Poland's border with Ukraine.

Now, as attacks on the country continue, four more consignments of much-needed necessities are being loaded up destined to the Lviv region of the war-torn country.

They include medical supplies and, chillingly, body bags.

The donations will be driven by a team of volunteers from the archdiocese over five days on a journey covering 2,800 miles across six countries.

A new donation of over £12,000 adds to the appeal total. Credit: ITV Granada

It will be a return trip for drivers Mike Sharkey from Greenmount Projects and Chris Joynt from Wigan Council.

Mike said: "We've got communication lines open. We're finding what specifically they need.

"So it's camp beds, generators, microwaves, a lot of medical aids and unfortunately, medical body bags. So I think this brings it back to reality. 750 body bags.

"That's what drives us on to be honest. That's why I'm doing this second trip."

A cheque for £12,000 was today presented to the #liverpool4ukraine appeal.

The money has been raised by Mike Sharkey from charities and organisations in the Wigan area of the archdiocese.

The total raised for the appeal currently stands at £101,000.

Father Taras Khomych, chaplain to the Ukrainian community in Liverpool, blesses one of the vans before the journey Credit: ITV Granada

The first consignment arrived of aid on Tuesday 29 March.

The donations were transferred to hospitals in Drohobych and Boryslav and further east to the capital Kyiv.

The next two batches will leave early on Sunday and Monday mornings (24/25 April 2022) and will be met by Bishop Gregory Komar and seminarians from the Diocese of Sambir-Drohobych in the Lviv region who will transfer the aid onwards.

Amongst those getting behind the wheel is Jill Boggan, Director of Finance for the archdiocese.

She said: "I've volunteered to go on this trip because I want to do something direct and useful to help people in Ukraine who urgently need the supplies we're taking to them.

"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to go on this journey and hopeful that taking the generous donations from across the archdiocese to Bishop Gregory will provide both practical support and comfort that they are not alone."