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Gaan the Distance: Preparations in full swing as lorry is loaded ahead of departure

Mark Harcus and Paddie O’Neill who will undertake the mammoth trip to Romania with aid items for Ukrainian refugees. (Orkney Photographic)

The first load of items donated as part of the Gaan the Distance for Ukraine Appeal has now been loaded in preparation for departure.

The appeal is being coordinated by The Orcadian and McAdie and Reeve, and since March, hundreds of items have been donated with a view to a lorry departing Orkney, bound for Romania where the items will be distributed to those working on the front line of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Today, both The Orcadian and McAdie and Reeve filled a 2,000 cubic feet lorry, using every available space to pack it out with hundreds of boxes of bedding, blankets, toiletries, sanitary items, mattresses, clothing, children’s toys, stationary, and even hospital beds.

Following the loading of the lorry, an additional trailer will also be filled with similar items on Friday.

The lorry and trailer will depart Orkney from St Margaret’s Hope onboard Pentland Ferries at 7.45am on Monday, May 16, with Paddie O’Neill, of McAdie and Reeve, and Mark Harcus, of The Orcadian, at the helm.

It is anticipated that the lorry and trailer will arrive in Suceava, in north-east Romania, on Friday, where the items donated by the generous Orkney community will be distributed at two drop-off points.

From there, they will be handed out to Ukrainian refugees and those who remain in the war-torn country.

Mark, sub editor, who assisted in the loading of the items, expressed his thanks for the support from the public as the departure date comes ever nearer.

“Loading the items today has really brought home the enormity of the response from the Orkney community,” he said.

“This appeal has exceeded all expectations and every item is being crammed into the lorry and trailer to ensure we maximise every inch of space to help the people of Ukraine.

“It has been heartening loading the lorry today and I’m glad to say that the load is very varied, helping people in their time of need.

“We will be setting off on Monday morning on this epic of over 2,000 miles and all your support and messages of good luck is greatly appreciated.”