Blackpool youngsters moved to help by plight of Ukrainian boy who travelled 600 miles all alone

Youngsters from some of Blackpool’s most deprived areas have raised money to help families in Ukraine after hearing how one boy travelled 600 miles alone to escape the war.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 6th May 2022, 3:30 pm

The members of the Blackpool Boys and Girls Clubs at Victory Road and Mereside were so moved by the plight of the eleven-year-old fleeing from Russian bombs, that they wanted to help.

They teamed up with members of the All in Club to hold a series of fund raising drives to support the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.

Youth worker Dave Blacker said: “We have in our club young people from different nationalities, including Romania and Syria, and we expect to have some Ukrainian youngsters in the future, so everyone was keen to help.

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Members of the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club pictured with posters they made to publicise their fundraising efforts to aid people in Ukraine. The effort was sparked by them seeing the story of the 11 year old Ukrainian boy put on a train by his mum near Zaporizhzhya, who travelled alone to Slovakia fleeing Russian bombs. He had a phone number on his hand and when aid workers rang it, he was safely reunited with relatives

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"The members of our adult disability group the All in Club doubled their subs they pay for a period, donating the extra amount. The juniors and seniors made cakes and bracelets to sell and we had a bingo night at the Mereside club.

"Altogether we raised £515, which is fantastic considering the areas some of our members come from.

"It all started with the story about the little boy travelling 600 miles on his own, with just a telephone number written on his hand. It was a story they all latched onto. Because he looked just like he could have been of of our club members, they could relate to him.

"They gave up their pocket money. One little girl came clutching a five pence piece and that could have been a lot to her. We are grateful to the parents, guardians and grandparents who baked cakes and supported our bingo night.”