DURHAM County Councillors are leading a convoy to Poland to distribute aid and medical supplies collected for people of Ukraine.

Cllr Marshall, who represents Stanley, Cllr Kevin Shaw of Dawdon, and 14 other volunteer drivers set off on the mercy dash on Wednesday morning, having been moved by the scenes broadcast across news channels.

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The fleet of seven vans will drive supplies to the Polish city of Lublin to distribute goods donated by people in County Durham direct to the frontline.

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They are working with the Polish Centre in Newcastle, which has organised several donation drives from across the North East over the past few weeks.

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Cllr Marshall, County Durham’s Labour Party leader, said: “Having watched the harrowing scenes unfold over the past few weeks and feeling totally helpless, I volunteered to drive to and deliver aid to the Poland/ Ukraine border and it has lifted my heart to be joined by so many others keen to help out.

“The Newcastle Polish Centre is doing an incredible job, acting as a collection hub for literally tons of generous donations from people across the region.

“However, they do have a limited number of vehicles and while they’re currently doing everything they can, they have more donations than they could possibly ever deliver with the vans available to them.

“It was a simple decision for me, we had to help. I leave for Poland in a convoy made up of councillors, business people and residents who are simply eager to help.”

Cllr Marshall said the generosity of the people of County Durham shone through, and was proud to play a small role in delivering our contributions to the places they’re needed most.

He said: “At a time when we are in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, spiralling fuel bills and energy costs, and rising taxes, the generosity of the people of County Durham and wider North East have continued to shine through.

“What is happening in the Ukraine now is nothing short of a genocide on our doorstep.

“That Europe could be plunged into war is terrifying, but also something that must not stand.

“We must all come together to show solidarity and offer support to those people turned into refugees by Putin’s illegal war.”

Cllr Marshall has thanked the Stanley community for supporting his relief run, with local mechanics, van hire firms, Labour colleagues and Stanley residents all contributing to thew effort.

Cllr Kevin Shaw said: “To be able to do something that will have a direct impact for people fighting this war on the frontline is incredibly humbling.

“Our vans are loaded with medical supplies and literally miles of bandages that will be transported directly to soldiers fighting the Russian invaders.

“It has been incredibly emotional to witness the generosity of the people of County Durham and it will be our honour to carry their donations to the people that need them most.”


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