A FIREFIGHTER took a part in a convoy of fire engines and lorries that delivered life-saving equipment to Ukraine, leaving Liverpool last week in a three-day trek to Poland.

Darren Cleaves, Monmouth and Abergavenny’s station manager with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, helped deliver fire engines and life-saving equipment as part of a 24 man team that drove virtually non-stop apart from a few hours sleep each evening.

Director of Technical Services, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Garry Davies, said: “When we put out the initial call for volunteer drivers, we were blown away by the vast number of people wanting to support the initiative from across our service. I’d like to thank all of those who courageously volunteered their skills and I wish those driving in the convoy a safe and successful journey.

“We are proud to be able to provide life-saving kit and equipment to Ukraine alongside our UK FRS colleagues.”

Darren, from Monmouth, was one of 24 drivers from South Wales who volunteered their time and expertise to deliver the donations of vehicles to help support their Ukranian firefighting colleagues and keep the population safe.

He told the Beacon: “It has been quite challenging – the logistics behind it in terms of keeping our team of over 80 people fed, watered, truck refuelled, and dealing with maintenance issues.”

Darren added: “We’ve got a high number of drivers with good rotation, so we’ve managed to keep the vehicles moving and stopping at the end of every evening, only for a couple of hours sleep,”

“I’m proud and humbled to be part of this small aid effort in helping Ukrainian firefighters,” he added

Phil Garrigan, vice chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and chief fire officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said he too was proud to “ support the incredible bravery of their firefighting colleagues.

“Although this deployment will be physically and mentally demanding, it will also be an incredibly rewarding experience for our volunteers and will make a real difference to fire and rescue operations in Ukraine.”

“Since the beginning of the conflict, 24 Ukranian firefighters have been killed and even more have been injured. 100 fire stations and 250 fire engines have been destroyed, which is why these donations are vital to help keep those living in unimaginable conditions safe.”

The convoy travelled from the UK to Poland where the Polish Fire and Rescue Service will then deliver these vital resources to the Ukrainian border. This is the fifth convoy such convoy to deliver vital resources from the UK.