Ex-Preston North End player in mercy mission to rescue refugee children from war-torn Ukraine

A former Preston North End player is heading to the Ukraine border on a mercy mission to rescue refugees.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 8th April 2022, 3:45 pm

Goalkeeper Glen Campbell, who played for the club in the early eighties, is leading a convoy of four vehicles taking vital aid to the war-torn country and bringing back 36 mothers and children to be cared for in Lancashire.

Glen, now 57, and his daughter Charlotte are among a party of 10 volunteers expected to reach the border by tomorrow.

They are due to make the return journey on Sunday, arriving back in the North West on Wednesday where they will be met by relatives and sponsors offering to take in the refugees, mostly in the Preston area.

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Glen Campbell (third left) and Charlotte (second left) with the team heading to the Ukraine border to bring back refugees.

"We will be bringing back some quite vulnerable children who have autism and need very specific care on the journey to make sure they are not distressed," explained Glen today as the convoy headed across Poland.

"We have spoken to one of our contacts who has been into the east of Kyev where there have been some horrible massacres and the people that are coming out of there are extremely traumatised, especially these kids with autism. Their world has been turned upside down."

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Glen is managing director of Preston Caravans and Motorhomes who have organised the trip and provided the vehicles - a campervan, two minibuses and a van.

Ready to board the ferry at Harwich on the way to Poland.

The team, made up mostly of volunteers from the company together with a Polish/Ukraine interpreter, set out from Preston on Wednesday.

They have taken specialised medical equipment, winter baby clothes, satellite phones and walkie talkies - all items requested by refugee teams in Medyka close to the border and less than 100 kilometres from the Ukranian city of Lviv.

"We have picked up some very specific and targeted aid that we have been asked to drop off to two guys who will take it straight into Ukraine and make sure the people who need it get," said Glen.

The trip is expected to cost around £12,000 and the team has set up a JustGiving page to help pay for the supplies and the transport costs to get to and from the Ukraine border.

Volunteer Sal Malek with vital supplies to be delivered across the Ukraine border.

Charlotte explained: "A lot of the mums bringing their kids back with us have no access to cash because their bank accounts have been frozen, so they have no money at all.

"We will be taking them to Knutsford in Cheshire where the charitable centre dealing with refugees in this part of the country is based. They will then be met by family members living in the UK, or with people who have sponsored them to come over and live with them.

"Many of them will be coming to the Preston area. People here have been so generous.

"There is a government visa system, but there doesn't seem to be much government support and guidance to get them here. It is groups like us who are very much going it alone to go out there and bring them to the UK.

"It will take us longer to get back than it did to get here because we have the children with us and we can't do long 10-hour stints like we have done on the outward trip."

To support the Preston mercy mission go to the group's JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/prestoncaravansandmotorhomes-ukraine