How a village pub is supporting Ukraine with multiple vans
- Credit: The Banningham Crown
There was one poignant scene from the Ukraine crisis which really hit home for a Norfolk publican overseeing efforts to support the war-torn nation.
Simon Feneron, manager of the Banningham Crown pub located to the north of Aylsham, has organised multiple vans to transport supplies to the border of Ukraine.
As part of the efforts, Mr Feneron has encountered scenes a world away from the rural parts of north Norfolk.
Travelling to the Polish border in early March, Mr Feneron saw a refugee camp with tents, police vehicles, queues of trucks and soup being stirred in a makeshift cauldron-like pot.
Mr Feneron said: "One thing I will never forget until the day I die was a small boy washing his hand using cold water.
"He had a number on his other hand which he did not want to come off. It could have been that was his safe number to call."
After the mission to the Polish border, 21 vans were then split up to provide some relief to Ukrainians fleeing from Russian military aggression.
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Six vans drove to Berlin, six went to Romania and a further nine headed for Poland as part of the Banningham Crown-led efforts.
This included £50,000 worth of medical oxygen being distributed as well supplies dropped off to the donation centre at the 17th century pub.
Mr Feneron said: "Unfortunately it takes the worst of the world to bring out the best in people.
"We had a back up of at least 10 drivers. People just want to help and the donation centre is in a constant state of chaos.
"It makes me extremely proud to be from Norfolk."
The entirety of the Reepham Rotary Club lent their support with 250 plus volunteers helping during the space of a week.
Mr Feneron recalled how the first mission to Hrebenne at the Polish border originated.
He said: "I wanted to help people wherever I could and said to a friend I will get a van and asked if he would come with me.
"I do not think he thought I was being serious. It started out as two idiots in a van and has really grown from there."