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Bury St Edmunds GeeWizz charity to stop Ukraine aid collections after donations fill 20 vans and lorries

A Suffolk charity has announced it will stop its aid collections from midday tomorrow, having received an 'overwhelming' amount of donations for Ukrainian refugees.

Bury St Edmunds-based GeeWizz has coordinated an effort to gather essential items for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of the country late last month.

The charity's founder Gina Long said the support for their appeal had exceeded all expectations, after gathering enough donations to fill a total of 21 vans and lorries.

"We have been overwhelmed by the tsunami of kindness and generosity shown in abundance from the Suffolk community and have by default ended up being a distribution centre for the whole of Suffolk at Hall Farm,” she said.

“What started as a cry for help to support my brother Oliver Horsman’s aid effort driving three transit vans to the Romanian-Ukraine borders, and an Instagram post by FOLK Café, snowballed support from hundreds of volunteers and donations escalating to fill three vans, twelve 40ft curtain-side lorries, three sprinter vans and three 7.5 tonne lorries, exceeding everyone’s expectations.”

There were enough donations to fill 21 vans and lorries. Picture: Gina Long

But Gina said, with people wanting to help now being urged to send money rather than goods, they are set to conclude their collections from midday tomorrow.

“As the crisis deepens, we at GeeWizz and our Suffolk community are being asked to transfer our efforts to financial support freeing up vital lines of distribution which can now be handled by the Disaster Emergency Committee who are working tirelessly to get the needed items to the escalating number of refugees," she said.

“Therefore the GeeWizz aid collections will stop tomorrow at 12 noon. No items can be accepted after this time."

Gina added: “We would like to thank the whole Suffolk community, our volunteers and friends for their outstanding community spirit, energy, and support; we are forever grateful.

“The fundraising for the West Suffolk Humanitarian Aid Appeal that GeeWizz has received to date will pay for the transportation of collected aid to date to include fuel, Eurostar tunnel fees, export fees and road tolls.

"All funds received via our Ukraine Appeal are separated for transparency and will be shared on-line in due course."

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