Kind-hearted dad opens up on trips from Hebburn to Ukraine border to help those suffering after Russian invasion

“I just had an urge to do something.”

By Nic Marko
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 5:43 pm

Those are the words of a kind-hearted dad as he opened up on his two trips to help support families in war-torn Ukraine, ahead of a third visit later this month.

Steve Walsh, 55, has already twice made the journey to the Poland-Ukraine border to help provide supplies to those impacted by the continued Russian onslaught on the country.

After initial trips in March and April, he is now driving a van for a third time, again accompanied by family friend Davey Love, later this month to continue his support.

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Pictures from the mission.

Mr Walsh, who lives in Hebburn with his wife, who is a nurse, and daughter, said he was inspired to help after hearing about the conflict in Ukraine.

The senior lifting operations manager said: “When it first started and it came up on the news, I’d seen the children and seen the devastation that affected everyone and I just had an urge to do something.

“I’d heard that people were driving over with humanitarian aid and wondered if I could do that.

“Once I started receiving donations it just escalated, the community really came together again, and I had to get another vehicle.”

Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine

His trips with Davey to date have lasted around four to five days each time, and involved visiting Polish-Ukrainian border towns Przemyśl and Medyka.

During the first visit in March, the pair managed to fill two vans with aid, with another vehicle then being taken over in April’s visit.

Mr Walsh added: “Within an hour I’d made a decision that I’d be doing a second trip.

“Some of the sights I saw really confirmed that, some of them were horrendous, it was very emotional.

Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine

“When we returned within an hour I was shopping for my second journey.”

Describing the experience, he said it took just under two days to travel there, which was followed by them spending all day and night helping where they could.

The father-of-five added: “We’ll offload our vehicle and if there’s vehicles in we’ll just muck in with the charity guys there.

“We put together special little backpacks for the children and within them there’s a soft toy, there’s colouring books, pencils, drinks, but there’s also jellies that will give them energy, little boxes of raisins, they love them.

Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine.

“To see the kids, that’s what makes the journey worthwhile, it gives us the motivation to keep doing this.”

He praised the support of the community for their generous donations, adding it has been vital for the trips which he said cost more than £2,000 to carry out.

A Go Fund Me page has raised £7,000 towards the efforts, while Mr Walsh also hailed Washington AFC for providing enough aid to “virtually fill the second van” on the first trip, and later organising a charity football match.

Mr Walsh added: “The generosity has been overwhelming, it really has, it’s emotional to think about.

“At times I’m using my holidays to do this but even my weekends now are committed to getting collections.”

Along with necessities such as food, medication and toiletries, he also asks those on the border what is needed.

Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine

On his last visit, lip-care products for chapped lips and rain ponchos were delivered, and later this month he is providing walking boots and protein bars.

As well as praising his wife for support, Mr Walsh added his employers Keltbray, a lifting services company, have been key to helping him provide aid.

Mr Walsh, who was born and raised in Hebburn, was invited to share his experiences at the region’s community area forum on Monday, June 6, where he received praise from councillors and residents alike.

Anyone wanting to donate to Mr Walsh’s next trip on June 22nd can contact him on 07789 554046 or search on gofundme.com for “Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s fundraiser”.

He also has a trolley at Hebburn Aldi if anyone wishes to donate items of food and toiletries.

Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine.
Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine.
Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine.
Images from Steve Walsh and Davey Love’s trip to provide aid in Ukraine.