A COACH service in Dyserth received an estimated £30,000 worth of donations of essential items to send to those in Ukraine within just three days.

Voel Coaches has asked for residents to send nappies, sleeping bags, first aid kits and much more between March 1 and 3, before all donations will be shipped off to Ukraine at the start of next week.

This follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 and has since seen attacks in numerous cities, leaving many civilians killed or injured, while it is estimated that more than half a million have fled their homes.

Working with the Wrexham-based Polish Integration Support Centre, who will send all donations to Ukraine from its hub on Monday, Voel Coaches marketing manager Chris Gentile said he found the support from the community “truly overwhelming”.

Chris said: “I’m estimating we’ve received probably in the region of £30,000 of donations; we’ve had companies donating £3,000 worth of stationary! It’s been a journey, to say the least.

“Everything that was on the list was received, even down to the stainless steel plates. One of our part-time drivers received a very generous donation of £200 and went to Halfords yesterday (March 3), who were amazing and knocked 50 per cent off the price on everything he bought.

Rhyl Journal: Volunteers helped sort the many donations for free. Photo: Chris GentileVolunteers helped sort the many donations for free. Photo: Chris Gentile

“I think he cleared the shelves there! Everyone has been fantastic; we had lunch for all of the volunteers provided from Subway and Pizza Hut yesterday. It’s just been truly overwhelming.”

Accepting donations between 8am and 4pm on those three days, Voel Coaches stayed open for an extra hour yesterday, while roughly 10 vehicles have been filled when transporting the donations to the Polish Integration Support Centre.

There, it will be re-sorted by volunteers, and shipped off to Ukraine on Monday.

Rhyl Journal: More donations received for Ukraine to Voel Coaches. Photo: Chris GentileMore donations received for Ukraine to Voel Coaches. Photo: Chris Gentile

Asked if they will run the same initiative again, Chris added: “If they need it, yes, we will.

“We’ve seen how successful it’s been. By the end of next week, if they start asking for supplies again, then yes we will. We’re a family-run business; we want to help those in Ukraine.

“We have filled in the region of seven coaches, two Thorncliffe Building Supplies (Dyserth-based company) trucks, and at the moment, we’re just loading the final load onto a removal company’s 40ft truck, and that’s nearly at full capacity.

“We had a lady called Janice who was here last night until 11.15pm sorting through as much as she could. That was in her own time; she wasn’t paid for it. She wanted to split everything down from toiletries to babywear, childrenswear, medicines… we’re very, very grateful.

“I’m speechless, really. We just wanted to dip our toe in the water to try and help those in need and before we knew it, we were full in our offices. It was up to the ceiling; we couldn’t move.

“I really thank all the volunteers for their time because they have given up so much of their time; it’s just been incredible.”

Rhyl Journal: People of all ages chipped in to help for free. Photo: Chris GentilePeople of all ages chipped in to help for free. Photo: Chris Gentile

Meanwhile, gatherings in Prestatyn and Rhyl have been organised this weekend on March 5 and 6 to show support for and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Last week, numerous MPs from across North Wales also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Vale of Clwyd MP James Davies saying: “The whole world must vehemently oppose Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.”