Leeds businessman fundraising for more aid visits to Ukraine after completing two 4,000-mile round trips

An employee at a Leeds-based business is raising funds for aid trips to the Ukrainian/Polish border alongside his close friend, having already helped to facilitate the transportation of 14 refugees.

By Tom Coates
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 4:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 5:19 pm

James Baker of York, alongside his close friend Mike Harding, has already made two 4,000-mile round trips and as well as helping refugees flee, has helped deliver aid and rescued three pets.

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James works as the land and new homes director for estate and letting agents Preston Baker, who have offices in locations such as Cross Gates and Roundhay, and has been spurred into action by what he has seen unfold in Ukraine since Russia began their invasion.

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James Baker and Mike Harding are raising money to fund aid trips to Ukraine.

"We’re shocked and horrified by the unfolding conflict in Ukraine," James said. "So much so that we’ve decided we cannot just sit by and watch this happen, and feel moved to help as best we can."

James and Mike used their own savings to purchase a 16-seater minibus to help move Ukrainians and on their first trip, travelled to the Ukrainian/Polish border and rescued a group comprised of two mothers with three children. On the second trip, they ventured into the city of Lviv before stopping off in Warsaw on the way back, returning from the two stop-offs with a total of five mother and child pairs.

Further stops were made in the German city of Dusseldorf and Hook of Holland in the Netherlands before they caught the ferry back to England, although the process for bringing pets into the United Kingdom led to a two-day delay which further added to the cost of the trip.

Aid they have provided includes the delivery of long-life foods, toiletries, baby wipes and nappies, although they have struggled to offer medical supplies that are not basic.

As it stands, they have raised over £7,000 and Mike has admitted they have been 'humbled' by the support they have been shown.

"We want to do these trips as regularly as we can, but obviously there is a cost involved and so we are doing as much fundraising as we can," said Mike. “Ever since I raised the idea with James, we have been throwing ourselves into the fundraising effort.

“People have been so generous with donations of both money and supplies and we feel very humbled by the support we have received, and the gratitude and support shown to us during our aid trips."

The pair are asking for businesses to either donate goods or offer the funds required to purchase them, and donations can be made on their JustGiving page.