The Russian invasion of Ukraine was very much a topic of conversation at the GO Diving Show this weekend, and keynote speaker Monty Halls took the opportunity to kickstart an urgent appeal for divers to donate essential kit to refugees from the conflict.
Monty said: “What is happening in Ukraine is absolutely terrible, but we can all do our bit to help. There is a desperate need for thermal layers and any waterproof kit (including normal clothes, of course, not just undersuits), first-aid kits (anything medical basically, bandages, plasters, scissors, splints, etc), and torches and batteries.”
Monty is working with the Polish White Eagle Club, based in London, who are joining up with an RAF logistician to ensure that all of the donated gear gets to where it is needed the most as soon as possible.
Monty added: “There are now 30 volunteers sorting kit full-time – and there are fleets of vans leaving driven by Poles to get the kit to refugees and, indeed, into Ukraine.”
Donated gear needs to be bagged separately – i.e. one bag of warm kit, one bag of torches/batteries, one bag of first-aid supplies. If you are part of a club or group, try to organise a central point where all of these donations can be dropped off and stored. Monty and his fellow volunteers are then planning to arrange regional drop-off points, and once there is kit at these, then some long-wheelbase vans will do a tour of the UK picking it all up and delivering it to the Polish White Eagle Club in London.
Monty concluded: “This is a fast-moving situation. We literally launched this at the weekend, and we are still finalising all the nitty-gritty details. But for now, if people can scour their spare rooms and garages for any of the above kit, watch this space on the rest of the logistics.
“We have raided our kit store down here in Devon – see if you can do any better! I am sure you can!”
The Immigration Advice Service has launched a free service offering help to refugees of the Ukraine conflict.
Photo credit: Jason Brown