Meet the Hampshire hero saving Ukrainian lives and rescuing animals in his big red bus

  • WATCH: Charlotte Briere-Edney's full report with the founder of John's Red Bus

Over the past year, many people have donated items, raised money and driven supplies to Ukraine to help the war effort.

But a Hampshire man has gone above and beyond by making 15 trips - and counting - to the war-torn country.

John Parker, from Tadley, has driven tonnes of medical, humanitarian and animal aid to Ukraine since the war began just over a year ago.

Speaking about his latest quest, he said: "We're taking three pickups loaded with aid, animal aid, human aid, medical aid as well."

The vehicles are also donated to the war and humanitarian effort.

John said: "It can reach -20 degrees in the winter, so they need 4x4 vehicles to a get aid to hard to reach areas, recover injured people."

Over the last year, John's Red Bus has rescued and transported over 30 refugees back to the UK to host families, and more than 15 animals.

John told ITV Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney where the charity got its name.

"I started off buying this bus. I then bought another big red van as well. By chance they were both red.

"So hence why the name, that's where it came from. Something simple that everyone from Europe can easily pronounce and remember. Not something too complicated."

John's dog Rocco is a fixture on the trips, riding alongside his owner in the bus.

"He absolutely loves it," gushes John. "And they all love him out there as well."

Rocco has been on many of the trips to Ukraine with his owner

As well as raising thousands of pounds, John has recruited friends and colleagues to become volunteer drivers to take the pickups over to Ukraine.

His longstanding friend Tim Fox told ITV Meridian: "When he started doing these trips, I was like, wow. So I actually rang him and I said, I just think what you're doing is fantastic."

On this trip, the vehicles will be loaded with four diesel generators that John has been sourcing from up and down the country.

"These will be for civilians and military in hard to reach areas in eastern Ukraine where the fighting is happening. There's no electricity there so these will save lives."

John, who runs a car dealership, is now planning to give up his day job and run the John's Red Bus charity full time.

"It's taken a real hold of my life. It's been a very rewarding path and quite life-changing."