Kent aid convoy assembles volunteers from as far as California for mission to Ukraine

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

Doctors and paramedics from the South East are among those taking part in an aid convoy to Ukraine.

The team are planning to deliver supplies to the Polish border before some go on to help the sick and injured in Ukraine itself.

They also aim to transport refugees back across Europe to France

The team gathered in a function room of the Leicester Arms pub in Penshurst re-purposed as a sorting centre for aid to Ukraine. 

The volunteers prepare the supplies in the pub ready to be loaded into the vehicles. Credit: ITV News Meridian

This is before their convoy sets off from Kent to drive over a thousand miles to deliver all the assistance they can. 

Among them is paramedic Shane Woolmore, packing vital medical supplies for the sick and the injured.

Shane outlined his plan: "My plan is to give aid to the guys down in Poland initially.

"I've been in touch with the Ukrainian government via a form and basically the idea is to enter Ukraine as soon as possible and go to whatever hospital they need me at.

Paramedic Shane will enter Ukraine to give first aid. Credit: ITV News Meridian

"I'll help the doctors, nurses and ambulance staff that are already there".

The trip has been organised by Arthur Smith, a mechanic from Tonbridge. 

It's the second mission the 25-year-old has led so far. The team he's assembled will travel to Poland, and some of the medics will go on into Ukraine itself.

Arthur said: "So we have advanced trauma surgeons, paramedics that've taken annual leave, construction workers coming out to look at building pop-up hospitals.

  • Arthur Smith outlines the range of skills that exists within the team

"We've also got translators to help us speak Ukrainian and Russain.

"We feel that we can do this because we have the ability to do it and there are a lot of people out there that want to do something but that can't.

"We have the capacity and an excellent team behind us to go out there and hopefully help".

Among the volunteers was Mark Chernyavsky. 

He has travelled all the way from California to take part. He was born in Ukraine and his sister still lives there.

  • Mark's friends and family in Kyiv tell him every day 'we're going to win!'

Mark said: "I have family and friends in Kyiv and every day we talk in every evening and every morning and they tell me 'we're going to win and we're going to stay here!'

"It's unbelievable the strength of these people and when I hear this I want to help anybody I want to be there and I want to help.

"I'm not going to cross the border but I'm going to help bring the health, the medication and the doctors just whatever we cab help with".

Once the team have delivered the supplies and done what they can on the ground, they'll turn their attention to helping refugees. 

They plan to drive them back across Europe to a centre in Normandy. 

You can support the team's mission by donating to their crowdfunding page.