Somerset Couple Embarks on a 1,318-Mile Journey to Support Ukraine

Somerset Couple Embarks on a 1,318-Mile Journey to Support Ukraine

Join Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines from Somerset as they embark on a 1,318-mile drive to Ukraine, delivering essential aid with their 4×4 ‘Hilda’ and supporting frontline soldiers. 

In a remarkable display of international solidarity, a couple from Glastonbury, Somerset, have undertaken a grueling 1,318-mile (2,121 km) drive to Ukraine to deliver a much-needed vehicle to aid in the ongoing conflict with Russia. 

Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines journeyed from Oxford to Lviv, in Western Ukraine, in a 4×4 they affectionately named ‘Hilda.’ 

The vehicle is set to play a crucial role in evacuating injured soldiers from the frontline.

Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines
Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines

Speaking to BBC Radio Somerset, Ms. Hines shared their immediate experience upon arrival: 

“As soon as we arrived in the workshop in Lviv, Hilda was immediately taken by two volunteers. We hadn’t even switched off the engine before the vehicle was emptied, kitted out, and taken off for its new life on the frontline. It was amazing.”

The journey, which took Mr. Chalmers, 36, and Ms. 

Hines, 35, three days, was part of a larger convoy organized by Driving Ukraine—a group formed at the onset of the war to facilitate the delivery of vehicles to the country.

Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines
Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines

“We drove through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Poland before spending two hours at the border with Ukraine sorting paperwork,” Mr. Chalmers explained.

Despite the smooth operation of their vehicle, the trip wasn’t without its challenges. 

“Hilda did really well. We had no problems mechanically, but a couple of the other vehicles had problems. A few hot radiators,” Ms. Hines noted, highlighting the resilience and preparedness of their mission.

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The couple also encountered and drew support from international volunteers along the way. 

“We met people from Norway, America, and Belgium—all going in the same direction trying to provide as much aid as possible,” Mr. Chalmers remarked. “We bumped into people at services and shared stories and made connections in order to work out how best to help.”

Their efforts were met with enthusiastic support, Ms. Hines recalled: “We also had a lot of honking horns and flashing lights, so it’s given us a real boost.”

Upon completing their mission, Mr. Chalmers and Ms. Hines plan to return to Somerset using public transport. To support their initiative, a fundraising page was established, which has already raised over £5,000. 

Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines
Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines

“The money will pay for the petrol, the paperwork to get to Ukraine, and modifications to the vehicle, such as new tyres and paint,” said Mr. Chalmers.

This journey not only represents a significant personal commitment but also underscores the broader community’s dedication to supporting those affected by conflict. 

Through their actions, Ed Chalmers and Katie Hines exemplify the power of humanitarian aid and the profound impact it can have on the lives of those in crisis zones.

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