Two Aberdeen-Angus breeders have been providing tremendous support to Pick-ups for Peace – a farmer-led initiative providing and supplying second-hand pick-up trucks and supplies to war-torn Eastern Ukraine.
James Arnott farms at Mains of Coul Farm in Forfar, Angus, delivered a vehicle and vital supplies back in March. Meanwhile, Dan Whiteford, of the Borewell herd, helped raise £27,000 for the cause through a special sale.
About Pick-ups for Peace
The initiative was founded by Mark Laird, who farms both in Scotland and the Ukraine, and his contacts from the 24th League Brigade.
The roads in Ukraine have been ravaged by bombs and Ukrainians are in desperate need of four-wheel drives. This spawned the idea for Pick-ups for Peace, which started in January this year with the aim of delivering 100 vehicles. This initial target has been surpassed with 235 vehicles being sent so far.
The vehicles have been sourced through farmers and farm contacts and have been either donated, gifted, or bought and then donated. They are then driven by the intrepid farmers and other volunteers to the Ukraine from Hull via the Channel Tunnel and onto Poland before crossing the border into the Ukraine. The vehicles and supplies are then handed over and travel another 1,000 miles to the frontline where they are desperately needed.
James has provided unwavering support to the cause and is humble in his reasons why: “I’m fortunate, I’m on the edge of it. I help where I can.”
He completed the journey in March earlier this year. Recalling the trip, he said once they entered the Polish border the Vehicle Identification Numbers were checked and the contents of the trucks were scruntinsed. The same thing was repeated once they reach the Ukranian border.
“We then carry on and wait to park up on the other side until all the vehicles are through. At that point, we get a military and police escort to wherever we are going that night. Virtually no one knows we are there other than the military,” said James.
Every inch of every vehicle is filled to the brim with spare tyres, generators, ratchet straps, oil, jerry cans, first-aid kits, sleeping bags, blankets, and clothes. The pick-ups are used for carrying goods, people, and food to the front line and they bring back repairs, casualties, and unfortunately dead bodies, he added.
Dan Whiteford, of the Borewell herd, organised an online sale of British beef genetics through Harrison and Hetherington in May. This was supported by Josh Dowbiggin of Dowbiggin Marketing and raised £27,000 for the charity.
Following his journey across Europe to deliver a fully-loaded pick-up earlier this year, Dan decided to create the ‘Pedigrees for Peace’ online sale and included genetics from his own Aberdeen-Angus herd.
Dan secured donations from across the UK in the form of Aberdeen-Angus, Hereford, Limousin, and Charolais genetics. Altogether 51 lots made almost twice the expected target of £15,000.
The money raised paid for three used pick-up trucks, and a full complement of supplies, to be delivered to the 24th Lviv Danylo Separate Mechanized Brigade.
Dan says he was inspired to raise the money after seeing firsthand what Ukrainians were facing: “When I went out to Ukraine to donate my truck, I saw for myself what the Ukrainian people were facing, and what a difference these pick-ups are making to the 24th Brigade.
“Working with Josh we started asking other beef farmers if they would donate lots for an online sale, and the response and generosity were incredible. So was the response from Harrison and Hetherington and Mart Eye, who organised and carried out the sale at no charge, and from the buyers who raised this amazing total of more than £27,000. I can’t thank everybody enough. It is a brilliant result.”