Ukraine war: Leeds woman whose grandparents met in concentration camp hosts charity walk for Ukraine

A woman from Leeds whose grandparents experienced the horrors of World War Two has raised thousands of pounds for the Ukraine crisis appeal.

By Abbey Maclure
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 11:45 am

Rachel Staszewsky organised a five-mile trek through Otley Chevin this weekend, setting a target of £100 for the British Red Cross Society's humanitarian appeal.

The 27-year-old, of East Ardsley, has family in Ukraine.

Rachel's grandparents met in a concentration camp in the Second World War and later moved to Leeds where they started a farm.

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Rachel Staszewsky pictured with her aunt and uncle, in their eighties, who took part in the charity walk for Ukraine

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She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We were always told about the war that had gone on in Ukraine and the horror stories of what had happened to my Nana and Grandad.

“When I saw history repeating itself, I needed to do something to try and get money together to help people over there.

“Everyone has been desperate in wanting to know how to help.

Rachel, a speech and language therapist, has now raised more than £1,800 for the Ukraine crisis appeal

"It’s taking a toll on everyone’s mental health, so I thought having a walk would be a nice way to get out and have a chat about everything that’s happening - a bit of a mental health boost.”

Rachel was joined by her friends and family, including her aunt and uncle who are in their eighties, on the walk on Saturday.

She was surprised to come across groups of supporters waving Ukrainian flags during their trek.

And Rachel, a speech and language therapist, has now raised more than £1,800 for the appeal, with the total expected to reach more than £2,000 when gift aid is added.

“The support has been unbelievable," she said.

"I only wanted to get £100 and raise a bit of awareness.

"I think we all felt a bit lost, so I wanted to open an avenue so they could see what charities are doing.

“It was amazing to have that support.”

The Red Cross appeal is supporting refugees caught up in the "appalling humanitarian situation" caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as tens of thousands of people flee their homes.

The money raised will go towards supplying food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes and shelter to those affected by the crisis.

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