'There's been a lot of tears' - Ukrainian families finally get visas

Viktoriya Lomakovska, Bohdan Bobor and Larysa Bobor celebrating outside the Ukrainian embassy in Brussels

Viktoriya Lomakovska, left, Bohdan Bobor and Larysa Bobor celebrating outside the Ukrainian embassy in Brussels after getting Bohdan's passport renewed - Credit: Adam Hale-Sutton

Ukrainian families who fled their war-torn country in search of safety are finally able to travel to Britain following delays in getting their visas processed.

The plight of six Ukrainian refugees had been raised by Norfolk's Lord Dannatt, who is sponsoring two of the group, after they were driven out of Poland by scout leader Adam Hale-Sutton in the Hethersett Primary School bus.

Mr Hale-Sutton, 43, from Little Melton near Norwich, has been leading mercy missions to deliver aid to the Ukrainian border and to help rescue refugees to safety after being deeply moved by their experiences.

Norfolk scout leader, Adam Hale-Sutton takes sabbatical from work to undertake Ukraine rescue missi

Norfolk scout leader, Adam Hale-Sutton has taken a sabbatical from work to undertake Ukraine rescue missions - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

The father-of-two, who has taken sabbatical from his job at Belfor, has spent the past three and a half weeks on his current rescue.

He had been staying in a hotel with the group with their cats, guinea pigs and dogs, before moving them to a holiday house in Dunkirk in France, where they have been waiting for their visas in order to travel to the UK under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

Mothers and sons Larysa and Bohdan Bobor, Viktoriya and Mykita Lomakovskyi, and Olha Miroshnyk and Yan Dmytrykov all escaped from Ukraine into Poland in the week of March 23-29, after travelling to the border on foot.

Larysa Bobor, Bohdan Bobor, Viktoriya Lomakovska, Mykyta Lomakovskyi, Yan Dmytrykov and Olha Miroshnyk

Ukranian visa hopefuls, from left, Larysa Bobor, Bohdan Bobor, Viktoriya Lomakovska, Mykyta Lomakovskyi, Yan Dmytrykov on the shoulders of Nicolai (a British volunteer driver) and Olha Miroshnyk - Credit: Adam Hale-Sutton

Their UK visa applications were made on April 6 with the help of lawyer David Hill and Mr Hale-Sutton, who has since described the process as "a nightmare" and "absolutely horrendous".

But the refugees are now finally able to head to the UK after all their applications were granted. The last of them received notification on Monday. 

The cohort will travel to the UK on Wednesday - four of the refugees will be taken to stay with families in Norfolk and two to Hastings.

Adam Hale-Sutton with the Ukrainian families, who will be heading to the UK.

Adam Hale-Sutton with the Ukrainian families, who will be heading to the UK. - Credit: Adam Hale-Sutton

Mr Hale-Sutton said: "There's been a lot of tears from everybody. It's been immense and a lot to process.

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"I'm just numb, I've gone into survival mode. I have been on the go 24/7 all this time."

Adam Hale-Sutton with two German soldiers who helped support him following a difficult day.

Adam Hale-Sutton with two German soldiers who helped support him following a difficult day. - Credit: Adam Hale-Sutton

The 43-year-old added: "We could not have done it without the volume of people who have helped in one way or another, from the smallest of donations to all the aid we have delivered."

He also thanked his wife Helen for her support throughout, and Mr Hill and Sam Thain.

A fundraising page has been set up to support Mr Hale-Sutton's efforts. To donate visit 'South Norfolk Ukrainian Refugee Rescue' on GoFund Me.

The EDP also launched an appeal for the people of Ukraine. You can donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/edp-ukraine