21 April 2022
A fundraising former Derbyshire police officer is planning on driving 1,000 miles to Poland to transport emergency donations for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Driven by shocking images and videos of families desperately escaping the war-zone in Ukraine, Chris Turner will be packing up his transit van full of donations, before delivering them to those in need.
Father-of-two Chris is raising money to help fund his trip, which is set to take place in May.
“You see these people losing their livelihoods, they’re losing their homes, they’ve lost their country. I can’t even begin to empathise with them, as they cross the border not knowing where their next meal will come from,” says Chris, a former soldier in the Armed Forces.
“They haven’t even got basic sanitary items. They can’t even brush their teeth, and it’s freezing and they’re hungry.
“You see all of these big charities raising money for the refugees, but I wanted to take things that one step further and deliver them myself.”
Chris (46), who was in the Force for more than 12 years, retired after injuring his back.
He added: “I look at my kids and I realise how lucky we are as a family. We have a roof over our heads and food on our plates - if all I have is a dodgy back, then that’s nothing compared to what these families are going to in Ukraine.
“You hear of these people, one day they’re at work doing their job and the next day, they’ve got a gun in their hands and they’re walking outside to defend their country and stand up to bully, but not knowing if they’ll come back alive.”
Within days of its launch, Chris’ fundraising target of £1,000 was met, with bags of items donated for him to deliver.
With the war set to have a long-term impact on Ukraine and its residents, Chris says planning the trip properly and going in May makes sense.
The businessman said: “We’ve had some massively, wonderful donations. I’ve called upon all my clients, and they’ve been very generous but even the smallest amount makes such a difference.
“We’ve gone over the initial target but if I have enough, I’ll go again for a second trip.”
From sanitary items to towels, bedding, baby clothes and coats, Chris says he has received bags full of essential donations ready to deliver.
“It’s overwhelming to see so many donations made. I’ll never turn anything away, so if you’re having a clear-out, or want to get rid of old clothes, remember there is somebody out there who will need them,” he added.