The first 4×4 purchased as part of a fundraising effort for Ukraine backed by Jeremy Clarkson has been delivered ahead of its trip to the war-torn country next week.
Viktor Zaichenko, 48, from Ukraine, and his wife Lucy, 55, are beekeepers at Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm in Oxfordshire.
The duo are raising money to send 4x4s to Ukraine, with help from Clarkson and his partner Lisa Hogan.
They plan to send the all-terrain vehicles to help parts of Ukraine cut off from aid.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Zaichenko said: ‘We just want to bring out trucks that help people.
“It will save people, it will get them to hospitals, it will get them to safety.”
Mr and Mrs Zaichenko were planning to visit Ukraine in February, shortly before the Russian invasion, but decided against making the trip.
The couple were instead in Scotland when news of the Russian invasion broke.
“We cut (the trip) short, we just got home.
“It was like dying over and over and over again,” Ms Zaichenko told the PA news agency.
“It was just absolutely awful.
“We didn’t know what to do.
“We just sat there feeling helpless, watching the country be destroyed.”
Mr. Zaichenko “realized that he could help Ukraine more from here than from there,” Ms. Zaichenko said, and so began their fundraising effort.
While they initially planned to raise funds to send armored vehicles to Ukraine, Ms Zaichenko said it quickly became clear that 4×4 vehicles were needed to access small villages cut off from aid and support .
The first 4×4 has now been purchased, and they hope it will begin its journey to Ukraine next week.
Their JustGiving raised over £45,000 and they plan to buy and deliver more 4x4s in the coming weeks, with help from Clarkson and his team.
“We had Diddly Squat’s support immediately…they’ve been absolutely amazing, they’ve been so supportive,” Ms Zaichenko said.
“From the start they wanted to help…we are honestly forever grateful.”
Clarkson recently shared their fundraiser on his Instagram page, saying, “Viktor, the bee man from Diddly Squat Farm is Ukrainian.
“He has a lot of family and friends who are stuck there and need our help.
“You can donate money that will help them buy the vehicles they need to evacuate people stuck behind Russian lines.
“I find it hard to believe I’m saying that in Europe today, but anyway, they’re stuck, they have to be taken out.
“So the vans, whatever comes to hand.
“That’s why they need the money.
“Please help me, if you can.”
Ms Zaichenko said the war in Ukraine had “brought people together”, adding “it brought out the best”.
“You see the darkness of humanity in a war, but you also see the light.
“The JustGiving is a very good example.”
To donate to the couple’s JustGiving visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/viktor-zaichenko