The Welsh farmer who led a 3,000-mile journey to deliver aid to Ukraine

An aid convoy has made the 3,000-mile round trip from Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in Conwy to war-torn Ukraine.

The three-vehicle trip was led by farmer Llyr Jones and included a Land Rover and 14-foot trailer that were left at the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Almost three million people have now fled Ukraine since it was invaded by Russian forces, according to the United Nations.

There are a further 1.85 million people internally displaced within Ukraine, including 200,000 in the western city of Lviv.

Llyr bought the Land Rover himself for £2,000, while the £6,000 trailer was donated by Ifor Williams Trailers, who have factories in Denbighshire and Flintshire.

Joining Llyr on the journey across Europe were Steve Butler, Gareth Gower Hughes, Phil Morris, Rhys Jones, Bryn Roberts, and Lucas Jones

The journey took the team to Dover to cross into France and then through Belgium, Germany and Poland before crossing into Ukraine on Saturday.

The vehicles were packed with over £20,000 of provisions bought in Europe - including medical supplies – and the trip was backed up by a support team in Wales.

Speaking after the drop off, Llyr said: “We had to adapt our plans as we went along so when a van broke down on the M25 we decided to hire a vehicle in Dunkirk in France.

“We were worried about being held up at the UK border at Dover but luckily we arrived there after an agreement by the UK Government that aid could be let through with minimal checks.

“In the end we didn’t have to go into Ukraine but were able to leave the Land Rover and trailer at the border for collection and it will be over there now."

Llyr said he was taken aback by the spirit of people the team encountered en route.

“People have been so helpful and generous all the way through from the people who helped us here in North Wales, at the big Carrefour supermarket in Dunkirk where they donated lots of unsold stock, plastic cups, plates, saucepans and tableware," he continued.

“People have been so helpful. We’ve had French guys helping us load up and along the way people from Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada lent a hand.

“In the end all we’ve done is drive the vehicles and drink lots of coffee – the people who deserve the real praise are the ones who donated and organized things for us. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Llyr is no stranger to long distance aid missions, having formed a charity several years ago that saw him drive across the Sahara to The Gambia to deliver aid in 2008.

“Because we have run a charity before it gave us the confidence and the knowledge that we could do it,” he continued. 

“You just have to be able to adapt your plan at short notice and that’s what we managed to do with a lot of help from people back home and along the way.”