From Dereham to Moldova: Drivers complete mission for Ukraine

Drivers Martin Walsh (left) and Ray Sayer (right) in Moldova

Drivers Martin Walsh (left) and Ray Sayer (right) have completed their mission to deliver supplies for Ukrainians after leaving Norfolk last week - Credit: Courtesy of Andy Pearson

Drivers who set off from Norfolk to deliver supplies to desperate Ukrainians have negotiated a number of obstacles to successfully complete their mercy mission. 

Truck drivers left Dereham last week towing a pair of lorries destined for Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the south east.

A Norfolk Family Movers truck outside the Railway Tavern in Dereham

A Norfolk Family Movers truck outside the Railway Tavern in Dereham - Credit: Andy Pearson

It followed a Herculean effort which saw hundreds of people from Dereham and the surrounding area donate supplies for civilians caught up in the ongoing conflict.

The Railway Tavern pub in Yaxham Road and the Morrisons supermarket in Station Road became hubs for donations, while local firm Norfolk Family Movers provided trailers which were stacked to the rafters with clothes, shoes and non-perishable food. 

But for drivers Martin Walsh and Ray Sayer, the journey across Europe has not been without incident - with a blowout on one of the tractor units proving the biggest headache. 

The drivers suffered a blowout on one of the tractor units in Romania

The drivers suffered a blowout on one of the tractor units in Romania - Credit: Courtesy of Andy Pearson

Andy Pearson, managing director at Norfolk Family Movers, said: "Before they went we bought new sets of wheels and tyres for each trailer as they are the ones which always get the punctures, but the blowout was on the tractor.

"That was in the middle of Romania and was an eight-hour wait for a new one because it was a strange size and the nearest supplier was 500km away.

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"That set us back a bit, apparently customs getting into Romania and Moldova was horrendous. They wanted the ins and outs of everything."

Andy Pearson (right), managing director of Norfolk Family Movers, with his family outside the Railway Tavern in Dereham

Andy Pearson (right), managing director of Norfolk Family Movers, with his family outside the Railway Tavern in Dereham - Credit: Andy Pearson

Thankfully, Mr Walsh and Mr Sayer finally made it to Moldova to drop off the supplies with a charity in Moldova, and are now on their way home. 

And Paul Sandford, whose pub welcomed a flood of donations in recent weeks, called the response from Dereham and the surrounding area "overwhelming".

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern, is providing transport for anyone wishing to attend R

Paul Sandford, landlord at the Railway Tavern in Dereham - Credit: Archant

He said: "From my point of view, Dereham always comes up trumps when the chips are down. 

"Doing the collection has had a detrimental impact on business because people thought we were shut, but it was not important at the time and I didn't even think about it."

Supplies for Ukraine being unloaded in Moldova after the mercy mission which left from Dereham

Supplies for Ukraine being unloaded in Moldova after the mercy mission which left from Dereham - Credit: Courtesy of Andy Pearson

Mr Pearson added: "What an experience it has been for them [the drivers]. It is a great achievement.

"I am very proud, but the biggest credit must go to the people who produced the donations and organised everything."

Drivers Martin Walsh (second from right) and Ray Sayer (left) have completed their mission to deliver supplies for Ukrainians

Drivers Martin Walsh (second from right) and Ray Sayer (left) have completed their mission to deliver supplies for Ukrainians - Credit: Courtesy of Andy Pearson

Norfolk Family Movers lorries travelled to Moldova to drop off supplies for Ukrainian civilians

Norfolk Family Movers lorries travelled to Moldova to drop off supplies for Ukrainian civilians - Credit: Courtesy of Andy Pearson