A HOSPITAL porter and his family have opened their home to a mother and her daughter fleeing their war-torn homeland – and even paid for their flights.

Paul Simms, who works for a subsidiary company for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, and his wife Gill, saw the impact the war was having on innocent people.

They soon began looking into options over how they could offer support.

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First they collected items such as nappies, baby milk, and sanitary products and sent a large shipment of donations to Ukraine.

Next they registered their interest in the “Homes for Ukraine” government scheme and were soon put into contact with a mother and daughter seeking refuge.

Mr Simms, who is a hospital porter at the University of North Tees, and wife Gill, organised and paid for their transport to the UK themselves, and once arrived, welcomed Olga, 46, and Anastasia, 19.

He said it had been “a great few weeks” getting to know Olga and Anastasia and they have been using “a translation app to aid communication and learn about their lives and interests.”

Mr Simms added: “Olga speaks four languages and is a keen church goer, one of the first things we did was take to her our local church, which she now attends daily, and she has spent lots of time with the priest who also speaks fluent Russian.

“Anastacia is a very talented young woman, she is a wonderful singer and she plays the piano, saxophone and guitar.

“We arranged for her to meet with a local music teacher who said her talent is outstanding.

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He added that when people ask why they made the decision, they say they just wanted to “help those in need.”

He added: “Gill and I are so glad we made this decision, knowing you have positively impacted people’s lives is wonderful, I would encourage anyone else considering joining the scheme to do so if you are able.”


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