Four friends and their dogs are tackling a virtual challenge to raise money for Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Occupational Therapist (OT) Emma Pope, who works for East Kent Hospitals, has teamed up with her wife Bex and two OT colleagues from Kent Community Trust, Charlie and Jacqui Connolly, to cover the virtual distance from Kent to Kyiv – a total of 1434 miles – by walking, swimming, running and cycling. The four all live in Saltwood, near Hythe.

They were motivated to act after Charlie’s uncle in Ukraine decided to stay and fight. They hope to raise £10 for every mile they cover, making a total of £14,340.

Charlie said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine that we are observing from afar is harrowing. We are lucky not to be living this nightmare first-hand, and can turn off the images. The friendly, warm people of Ukraine do not have that choice.

“When events were unfolding, my aunt and I asked my uncle to leave Kyiv to come back and be safe in the UK but he refused; he wanted to stay, to defend his country and fight for his way of life.

“Jacqui and I, and the whole family, are incredibly proud of him but scared for him as well.

“We feel helpless, but together we can do something and raise money for the humanitarian organisations on the ground in Ukraine.”

The group have given themselves 60 days to complete their challenge, and will donate the money to the Red Cross Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

So far, they have virtually travelled across four countries and travelled nearly 600 miles in 22 days.

You can add to their sponsorship here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kent2kyiv60

Follow their progress on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5082928605078692/

By Ed

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