22 June 2022
A former Derbyshire officer who recently travelled to Poland to deliver a van load of donations to Ukrainian families fleeing war is now aiming to raise a further £5,000 for refugees after he saw how desperate they are for food.
Chris Turner made the 1,900-mile round trip back in May, complete with his Transit van full of essential items, including clothes and toiletries, after being shocked by the media coverage showing families escaping the war zone in Ukraine.
Immediately after returning from his trip, having seen the despair of elderly relatives, mothers and their children needing store cupboard ingredients to make basic meals, Chris is now planning on travelling back over to Poland with a van full of essential food items for them.
“Seeing kids there who now have nothing, it was heartbreaking. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear,” said 47-year-old Chris, who was in the Force for more than 12 years and retired after an injury on duty
He added: “Those children were lining up to get such basic things, like spare clothes, toothpaste, toothbrushes - all struggling to survive. It was wrong.
“Witnessing that made me feel like I needed to do more, there’s no excuse. I need to get food over to them, so for at least one night, they can go to bed with a belly full of food.
“You can’t comprehend what they’ve been through,” added father-of-two Chris. “Honestly, if I could take those families back with me, I would have.
“I feel awful that I can just pop to my fridge and get anything I want. These people have nothing.”
Chris, who made the trip with a friend, admits the pair barely spoke for a few hours on the way home, having been hit so hard with what they saw.
“We were given some sweets, snacks and food before we left for the journey but it didn’t feel right us having them, so we gave them to a family who we saw walking by. The genuine happiness on their faces, for something so small, they were eternally grateful - I will never forget that,” he explained.
“I like to think that for just five minutes, as they ate those sweets, the children were just children again and they were able to forget what was going on back home.
“These children should be in the park playing. Instead, their lives have been ripped apart.”
Having previously raised more than £1,500 for the Ukraine crisis, Chris has set himself an ambitious new target of £5,000, which he is hoping local businesses will help him achieve.
“I want to go over there in September with a couple of vans rammed full of food,” he explained.
“I appreciate so many of my friends and family have already donated to me, so I’m appealing to big corporations and businesses now. I already have a few supporting me by donating, but I’d love to get as many on board as possible.”