Three volunteers from Lancashire have returned from a marathon mercy mission to deliver aid to refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.
Steve and Heather Park from Penwortham and Lenny Crook from Leyland took part in humanitarian convoys to Hungary and Turkey organised by the Communication Workers Union with support from Royal Mail and BT.
Six vans, packed with essentials like tents, sleeping bags, warm clothes and baby milk, left collection points around the UK - one of them in Preston - and drove across the Continent to help the thousands of displaced families desperate for a new life in Europe.
Four of the vehicles made a 1,300-mile trip to Budapest, while two others went further to the Bulgaria/Turkey border where local drivers continued the mission.
Lenny, who works as a driver for Royal Mail, said: “It was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. It felt like we were really making a difference.
“It took us 10 days there and back - a journey of 4,100 miles. There were two convoys, one which went to Budapest and the other, which I was on, went further to the Turkish border.
“Unfortunately we had to stop there because there were complications with us getting into Turkey, so a local trade union took over and completed the journey.
“It was my first humantiarian convoy, but I’d do it again, certainly. And I’d encourage others to do it too.”
The union’s humantiraian aid charity (CWUHA) is now in its 20th year of delivering aid to impoverished communities, particularly in the former Soviet territories where it helps mother and baby units and homes for abandoned children and adults with learning disabilities.
CWUHA chair Carl Webb said: “Royal Mail and BT have been fantastic with the support they have offered. This has gone from a small project to an international relief effort.
“What has been most heart-warming has been the response from the public – they have been amazingly generous.”
Steve and Heather both work for BT, while Lenny is based at the Royal Mail plant in Fulwood.