Firefighters from Suffolk have set off on a 1,000-mile trip to take a gift of kit for their emergency service counterparts in war-torn Ukraine.

Six volunteers from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service make up the deployment team, which will drive across Europe to deliver a donation of two fully operational fire engines and equipment.

This forms part of the wider National Fire Chiefs Council and Fire Aid initiative.

The team, made up of Graham Abrey, Jason Anderson, Jake Booth, Paul Buck, Matt Hassey and Sean Ryan, left Ipswich East Fire Station on April 19.

They were waved off by well-wishers as they set off from Suffolk for Eastern Europe.

Jake Booth, who is the inspecting officer, said: "Having travelled through Ukraine previously I was struck by the warmth of the people and the hospitality they offered, so it’s humbling to be able to give something back at their time of need.”


They will travel to Kent to join the national convoy of vehicles that is departing for Ukraine. They will then drive across Europe and head to Poland, where they will hand over the vehicles and kit to the Polish Fire Service, which will distribute the items to the Ukrainian fire stations.

Firefighter Sean Ryan said: “I am proud to be supporting our firefighter colleagues in Ukraine with this much-needed kit. I had my first blue light drive on one of the fire engines we are taking there, so it will be extra special for me to hand it over in Poland.”

Jon Lacey, chief fire officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue said: “We are pleased to be able to support the national effort to assist our counterparts at this difficult time by replacing some of the damaged kit, and I’d like to thank everyone who has made delivering our donation to Ukraine possible."

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for public health and public protection, said: "I am immensely proud of our fire service for donating two engines along with other lifesaving equipment to Ukraine, which I know will make a real difference to the firefighters continuing to protect their communities during the conflict."

To follow the convoy along their journey, keep an eye out on Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's Twitter and Facebook pages.