Gardiners Holidays team up with Tate's Travel and Cochranes Coaches to deliver four coach-loads of aid and relocate Ukrainian refugees

Gardiners Holidays in Morpeth is helping to deliver vital supplies to Ukrainian families and help refugees find safe haven elsewhere in Europe

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 9:10 am

Over the next two weeks, managing director Adrian Smith will be travelling across Europe as part of a mercy mission to help those in need, rather than transporting people to holiday destinations.

The company’s coach depot has been collecting vital supplies of non-perishable foods and medical supplies which it will be delivering in two convoys of coaches. One sets off tomorrow (Friday) and the other will leave on Sunday, April 17.

Adrian, 46, felt compelled to act after seeing the harrowing images on the television of Ukrainian homes coming under a bombardment of Russian missile strikes as families fled across the border into Poland to seek sanctuary.

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Gardiners Holidays managing director Adrian Smith on board one of the coaches which will be used to relocate refugee families fleeing from Ukraine.

He said: “My whole thought process in wanting to get involved is that if my wife and children were in this situation – having to flee their homes, on their own with only the clothes they have on their back – then I would want someone to step in and help them.”

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Adrian with be be leading the convoy on the 18-hour drive to the Ukrainian border, via the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry. After delivering their supplies, the coaches will then be used to transport refugee families to a safe haven.

He added: "The coaches will be full of supplies which we will be delivering to Chelm, 15 miles from the Ukrainian border. The plan is to then load the coaches with refugee families and their pets and transport them to safe locations in Europe – probably Germany and the city of Frankfurt.

Tate's Travel part owner Lee Tate and Gardiners Holidays Managing Director Adrian Smith getting set for their mercy mission to relocate Ukrainian refugee families.

"I know it’s going to be a heartbreaking experience and will bring tears to my eyes.”

To promote the initiative and to assist with the collection of donations, Gardiners Holidays has teamed up with longtime travel business partner, Tate’s Travel in Sunderland, which has also been promoting the initiative via its social media platforms.

Part owner Lee Tate, 51, will be joining Adrian on the convey to help unload the donations and provide comfort to fleeing families.

He said: “These people are in a desperate situation and you can’t not be moved by the scenes witnessed on the television – it gives you a lump in your throat. I wanted to support the donation of items as well as to head out there and provide help with the unloading of supplies and relocating of people to a safe place.

Two of the coaches which will be used to transport aid items and then relocate Ukrainian refugee families.

"A lot of these people will be terrified after what they’ve experienced and I just want to feel like I’m doing something to help.”

Both bosses have been delighted with the response they’ve received to the appeal.

Adrian said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from the local community with a lot of donations being delivered to our depot. The coaches and the luggage area are going to be packed.”

Also assisting as part of the coach convoy is Cochranes Coaches in Peterlee.

Owner Ian Cochrane said: “We are happy to be working with Gardiners Holidays and Tate’s Travel in assisting refugees with supplies and transport to safety.”

To support with the ferry and fuel costs, the businesses involved have set up a GoFundMe page.