UK visa snags hit Ukraine mercy mission led by ex-PNE footballer

Visa problems have hit the mercy mission from Ukraine being run by former Preston North End player Glen Campbell and his daughter Charlotte.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 11th April 2022, 3:45 pm

Organisers of the week-long overland trip had hoped to bring 36 mothers and children back from the war-torn country to the UK.

But the convoy of four vehicles from Preston has been forced to leave some behind near the Poland/Ukraine border after problems with international clearance from the UK government.

"Sadly we have had to leave without some because their visas were held up and hadn't come through in time," explained Charlotte as the party continued its journey across Europe today.

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The four-vehicle convoy from Preston the the Ukraine border.

"We have got about nine families with us, but unfortunately the others will have to make alternative arrangements.

"The government needs to step things up. But we are still really proud of the ones we have been able to pick up."

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Amongst the refugees are children with autism for whom the long journey is an added ordeal.

Glen (third left) and Charlotte (second left) with the other volunteers making the week-long trip.

Charlotte told the Lancashire Post: "It's going well, they are generally holding up really well.

"Some have been feeling a little bit poorly with all the travelling and the stress. But I've got to hand it to them, they are extremely resilient.

"The kids are very sweet and coping OK with the travelling. But we are doing regular stops and taking our time."

The convoy is expected back in the North West on Wednesday. Plans to have a reception for them at a church in Knutsford have now been abandoned.

"We’re going to drop them off at their new homes because they don't want any fuss, they just want to get to their sponsors' houses and start settling in.

"It was a lovely thought by the church to welcome them, but it would be too much for them after such a long journey."

The convoy was launched by Preston Caravans and Motorhomes where former goalkeeper Glen, now 57, is managing director.

The group set up an appeal on JustGiving to help pay for urgent supplies taken over to the Ukraine border, fuel for the trip and accommodation for the families on the three-day trip to the UK.

The target is £12,000 and so far the appeal has raised almost £8,000.

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