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Ukrainian refugees in Poland thank Essex communities for their generosity

A Ukrainian refugee helped by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Ukrainian refugee collection has given her thanks to the communities of Essex.

After collecting more than 800 boxes of donations at Great Baddow Fire Station, a team from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service met fire service colleagues in Chocen, Poland to help set up a refugee centre for 50 Ukrainian refugees.

Joanna Lisowska-Dyer, Fire Safety Officer Gary Dyer, Watch Manager at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service flew to Poland for three days to help unpack the donations that had filled an artic lorry. The lorry and its drivers were donated to the cause by a local logistics company.

While in Poland, Joanna and Gary met a Ukrainian family who had fled to Poland.

Ludmila, a Ukrainian refugee who found a safe haven in Poland with her five children after losing her husband in the war, wanted to pass on her thanks to the Essex communities who have helped her family.

She said: “I would like to say thank you to all the people who didn't let us down, who have been helping us.

“Thank you for giving our children the opportunity to go to school. Our children have the normal childhood here, how it should be.

“Misfortune never comes alone. And now we can see who is who. Who is our friend and who is our enemy.

“With all my heart I bow down to you on behalf of all Ukraine people and wish your families a peaceful sky and health.

“With all my love.”

Joanna and Gary used more than £1,500 raised through charity car washes at Burnham, Hawkwell and Southend Fire Stations to buy kitchen equipment for the refugee centre.

Joanna Lisowska-Dyer said: “Being part of the fire service, we’re always there to support people, save people lives and we had no hesitation together in supporting people, people from Ukraine.

“All the communities of Essex came together and helped us, helped the Polish Fire Service to achieve this.

“Thanks to you all in your involvement, we were able to achieve amazing things.”

Gary Dyer said: “We have our saying we're all one team and we really are one team. Not just within the service, but within Essex and the Polish Fire Service. Without their joint efforts, we wouldn't be able to do this.

“We just really want to say a big thank you to everybody. The journey is still not over. We still have lots more to do.

“We keep watching on the news that it's not going away. We will continue, we won't give up. So please don't give up with us. We will continue this and want you to stay with us through this journey.

The Service is also working with partners across Essex to help during this time. Find out how you can get involved in your area here: facebook.com/groups/eiuforukraine.

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