Gaan The Distance For Ukraine: Huge Orkney appeal for donations set to begin

The Orcadian and McAdie & Reeve have joined forces today to launch a local appeal that will see the delivery of vital items to the people of Ukraine in their time of need.

Both firms are hopeful that the generosity Orkney is so famously known for can play a crucial role in UK-wide efforts to assist — by delivering key supplies to the refugees who have been forced to flee their homeland after Russia’s invasion.

A huge appeal for vital donations and funds is planned, and at its conclusion, it is hoped that we can personally transport a huge assortment of bedding, mattresses (in good condition), blankets, clothing, shoes, toiletries, hygiene products, medical supplies (bandages), children’s toys, and baby items such as nappies and wipes to refugees.

The appeal, Gaan The Distance For Ukraine, sets out to send an arctic lorry load — possibly even more — full of these donations from Orkney.

The Orcadian and McAdie & Reeve will then make the 4,500-mile return journey to a collection point in Suceava, in Romania, close to the border with Ukraine.

We are aware that people are already looking for ways to help — and so we are relying on the support and generosity of the Orkney public at this time of desperate need for Ukrainians.

Donations can be made directly to McAdie & Reeve, in Kirkwall, where staff and volunteers will sort and account for all items.

Due to building works being undertaken at The Orcadian, our Hatston office is currently not available for donations but will be in the coming weeks, and this will be announced in due course.

Donations can also be made Orkney Photographic, Bridge Street, Kirkwall, and there will also be a Stromness collection point — the details of which will be released shortly.

Further collection points are also being developed in the isles.

A full list of items needed will be published soon, and indeed, financial donations will help us get your items to Romania.

In around six to eight weeks time, the lorry will then make the mammoth trek to north-east Romania — so we have set an initial fundraising target of £6,500, to cover ferries, fuel, complex paperwork, toll fees and insurance.

By donating, no matter the sum, you will be playing a key role in helping us make a difference and ensure that the Orkney community sponsors and supports this aid trip.

If donations top the £6,500 target, then the rest of the funds raised will be donated to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

McAdie & Reeve are generously absorbing the costs of the driver, sustenance and the trip back from the UK mainland. The Orcadian will coordinate and advertise the campaign, offer weekly updates, and staff volunteer support.

Further details about how you can donate, and get involved in the campaign, will also follow.

Mark Harcus, sub-editor at The Orcadian, said the horror of what the Ukrainians are going through will no doubt inspire folk in Orkney to pledge their support.

“Our community’s generosity and support for appeals and campaigns is famed, this small island group often going above and beyond in their efforts to help others.

“The invasion of Ukraine and the warfare that is now being conducted there has shocked and horrified the world, prompting global condemnation of Russia, and sparking a huge aid mission to help those who have had to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

“Here in Orkney, we have already seen a huge response to raise money to assist charities, and now we want to coordinate a huge Orkney-wide appeal which will deliver vital aid directly into the hands of those on the front line of this humanitarian crisis.

“We’ve been liaising with charities in order to coordinate the items required, and by travelling to Romania to drop these items off, we will be ensuring that Orkney can play their part in assisting people in their time of need.

“In recent years, we’ve seen hugely successful fundraising efforts, including The Orcadian’s CLAN campaign, the Longhope Lifeboat Museum and most recently, the Tractor Run for CLAN and The MS Therapy Centre, and I am convinced that this community spirit will rise to the fore again.

“I want to thank McAdie & Reeve for their support and assistance in our mission.”

Martin Drury, director at McAdie & Reeve, said the company has undertaken previous trips to deliver items to children in need in Romania, and hopes the appeal will capture the imagination of the public and Orkney’s business community.

He said: “We are delighted to be involved in this campaign and hope that, by bringing together a coordinated Orkney-wide appeal for donations and funds, we can help people who find themselves in a terrible situation.

“The mission to deliver these items, taking them door-to-door, is not without its complications, but with the backing of the Orkney community and businesses, together we can do our bit to help the people of Ukraine.”

More updates, including item lists, donation drop-off points, and a JustGiving link, will be provided in due course.