Polish-born vet overwhelmed by response to Ukrainian aid donations appeal - Veterinary Practice
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Polish-born vet overwhelmed by response to Ukrainian aid donations appeal

An appeal by a Gloucestershire veterinary hospital for donations to help Ukrainian people seeking refuge in Poland has met with an incredible response

Bourton Vale Equine Clinic in Lower Slaughter has received hundreds of donations, including winter clothing, nappies, children’s car seats, medical supplies, travel cots, tinned food and bottles of water. The supplies are due to leave the Cotswolds for Poland on Monday 7 March, and among the people the items are set to help are a group of Ukrainian orphans who walked 50 miles to reach safety.

This appeal was organised by the practice’s clinical director Greg Staniek, who was born in Poland and grew up there. He still has strong links with the country and was in Poland on the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

Greg said: “My wife Lorraine and I have a holiday home in south west Poland and the appeal for donations came about because we have offered our house as accommodation for refugee families. I realised these people and all the other refugees coming to Poland will have nothing and need clothing, toiletries and food, as well as housing.

“We put out an appeal on the practice Facebook page, including a list of items the Ukrainian people desperately need and it went viral. Not only did our clients instantly respond, they shared the post with their friends, who shared it with their friends. Cars kept rolling up with donations and we received items from as far afield as Wales and Essex. The generosity of people has been amazing.”

Greg has arranged transport with a Polish haulage company and is collaborating with the Gloucestershire Polish Group to help make sure the donations reach their destination. Lorraine is travelling to Poland and will be in the town of Skoczow, close to the Staniek’s Polish home, to meet the lorry when it arrives.

Greg added: “We wanted to make a personal connection with the Ukrainian people and do more than just send aid. Lorraine will help settle the families into our home and she will be there when the donations reach the people who need them.

“We are really hoping that we can help a group of around 80 orphans we have heard about, who walked many miles and are now in a hostel close to Skoczow. We have been very moved by everything that is happening in the Ukraine, but especially by the plight of these children, some of whom are just six years old and who have nothing.”

The aid will be distributed by an organisation belonging to the Polish government, and Greg hopes to keep collecting donations and send regular lorry loads of supplies. VetPartners, the larger veterinary group Bourton Vale Equine Clinic is part of, have pledged to provide funding for the transportation.

Bourton Vale’s practice manager Patricia Crichton and the hospital’s veterinary and support team have been working hard to sort all the donations and package them for dispatch.

Patricia said: “We are so grateful to our clients for their unbelievable generosity and I am extremely proud of our team who have all pitched in to help sort and pack the donations, alongside making sure our equine patients are receiving the very best care.

“It is so heartwarming how people responded to our appeal and we received so many donations that every available space has been taken up, both inside the reception and in our barn. Many of the items are brand new, including 12 travel cots which came from a local company. We’re also pleased to have had donations of car seats, which will help make sure that children can be transported safely.

“We hope that all of these items can make a positive difference to the lives of the Ukrainian people who have had to leave their homes and all their possessions behind.”

Bourton Vale Equine Clinic is one of Gloucestershire’s largest veterinary hospitals and cares for horses in and around the county, from Pony Club ponies to sport horses.

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