Two retired Nottinghamshire Police officers have travelled on a Christmas humanitarian mission to war-torn Ukraine to deliver children’s toys and vital supplies.
Simon Blincow and Rob Taylor joined a convoy of pick-up trucks and ambulances filled with electricity generators, clothing, toys and other items.
The pair visited the Ridni children’s home in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv where they handed over 80 winter coats, paints, cuddly toys, sketchbooks and Lego to youngsters who have been displaced since the Russian invasion in February.
The vehicles will also stay in Ukraine and will now be heading to the east and south of the country to assist the ongoing humanitarian effort.
It is Simon’s fourth visit to Ukraine – having previously travelled with another former cop Martin Foster, delivering supplies extensively within Ukraine. All three are looking to make further trips in 2023.
Simon, who worked as a sergeant in the roads policing unit and operational support, said footage on the news of the devastation caused by the Russian invasion had prompted him to get involved.
“Like everyone I was moved by the scenes and wanted to put my experience from my time as an officer to good use,” he said.
“Ukraine is desperately short of ambulances, pick-up trucks and 4X4s to help with humanitarian support in the east of the county.”
“People are incredibly grateful. The visit to the children’s home was really moving. They were delighted to receive a crayon or a book and it really pulled at the heartstrings.
“Some of the children are there for other reasons, but many have been displaced by the war.
“The reaction from people in the force to what we have been doing has been brilliant. Current and former Nottinghamshire Police employees have donated items which have been collected at pick-up points and passed on to us.”