A lorry emblazoned with a proud message of support from Aberdeen to “our friends in Ukraine” will set off on the 1,600-mile journey to eastern Poland this weekend.
Haulier Gordon Simpson, who works for MCM European Ltd, will be behind the wheel as his trailer transports several tons of essential supplies to refugees fleeing the war.
The toiletries, sleep equipment and clothing his lorry will be carrying has been donated by big-hearted people in cities, towns and villages across the north and north-east, and collected at Craigievar House in Dyce.
However, the logistics involved in getting them to where they are so desperately needed are not inconsiderable.
No small task
Anne McMillan, the woman responsible for that effort, said: “It’s been a lot of work, it really has.
“Thankfully the RHA (Road Haulage Association) have been really good, they put through a checklist for us that helped considerably to make sure we’ve covered all the legalities and everything, so we’re working through that list.
“I think once you’ve done it once you’ll be fine, but we’re hoping that with us doing it, maybe if other hauliers wanted to do it we would be able to help them and make it a bit easier for them as well.”
Her husband David is the owner of MCM European Ltd, and together they decided it was vital that they did what they could to help out.
Mrs McMillan said: “I have always donated to AberNecessities, so I follow them on Facebook and I saw a post that they were raising aid for Ukraine.
“We were sitting watching TV and feeling so blinking helpless that we thought what could we do?
“And my husband said, ‘Why don’t we put a truck across?'”
United for peace
Local charity AberNecessities shared a post on social media last week, calling for supporters to donate supplies to an effort organised by domestic abuse support group Own Woman and the Polish Association Aberdeen (PAA).
Kasia Cwiklinska, the vice president of the PAA who is co-ordinating the collection alongside Own Woman director Adrianna Sosnowska, said they have been “overwhelmed” by local generosity.
She said: “We’ve already sent one lorry over to the border of Ukraine, we have another lorry loaded that takes 24 hours, we will be loading another two lorries today and tomorrow, and we’ll still have quite a lot of stuff left.”
Miss Cwiklinska added that they were expecting an additional lorry from Inverness this weekend, and another from Oban next week.
When the MCM European vehicle leaves on Sunday morning, there will be no doubt where it came from for anyone who sees it across the continent.
The message on the side, created for free by Perth company Write On Signs, reads: “To our friends in Ukraine – we stand with you. United for peace, for kindness and in hope. With love, Aberdeen, Scotland.”