A PLEA has gone out for cash donations and shoeboxes filled with Christmas presents for children as well as gifts for wounded soldiers ahead of a Craven group's eighth trip to Ukraine later this month.

A team made up of people from Dales-based Fast Aid Support and Transport (FAST) and Skipton Craven Rotary Club is preparing to make the two day journey across Europe to war-torn Ukraine on November 28.

John Midgley, of Midgley Motors, founder of FAST will be joined by volunteer drivers to deliver four much needed vehicles and trailers to help in the front line, all of which will be packed with emergency aid for families and injured soldiers recovering in hospital.

Amongst the items being taken over will be a pallet of toys, promised by toy manufacturer, Mattel; and anything else donated by the time the team sets off.

Mr Midgley said what was really needed was money to pay for fuel, and Christmas gifts. "We have almost a full load for the trip already so we are just appealing for fuel money now. The only things we need are Christmas shoe boxes of goodies and toys for the children and goodies for the injured solders in hospital."

Last month, the team delivered five 4x4 vehicles, two vans and a trailer all packed with aid including aqua packs, medical consumables, dried food, hospital bed sheets and even an industrial washing machine. In addition, John, a former semi-professional rally driver, purchased with his Japanese motor connections two fully equipped ambulances which were shipped over separately.

The trip did not go entirely to plan - the difficulties of transporting six vehicles posing a challenge to John and the team, which included a break-down on a German autobahn, a team member getting lost and problems with paperwork; but the aid did get through.

Earlier in the year, the team bought and dispatched to Ukraine a former West Yorkshire fire engine and in June it held a fundraising concert at Grassington Town Hall.

John Kirwin, of Skipton and Craven Rotary Club, from Bradley, appealed to people to give what they could. He said: "This totally unjust war still needs the support of everyone to help alleviate the suffering the brave Ukraine people are going through."

Cash donations can be made to FAST via the Skipton and Craven Rotary Club account: 11476815 sort code 40-42-06. Donations of items can be left at Midgley Motors, Skipton, or Midgley Motors, Grassington; or by telephoning John Kirwin on 07880 507888.