A Sheffield man is driving to Ukraine to help poor animals left behind by evacuees

10 March 2022

A Sheffield man is driving across Europe to Ukraine to deliver a car full of essential equipment to help abandoned animals in the country.

Jules Hales, from Sheffield, is packing his old Mitsubishi 4×4 with as many supplies as he can and hopes to set off this week on the 1,778 mile journey.

The animal lover said: “Everyone around has told me not to do it. I have bad health, I have no money, they think I should just stay at home and not do anything.

“But I could see straight away even after the second day of the war that people would be needing help, that animals would be struggling, and I could not just sit at home and do nothing”.

Mr Hales, aged 50, wants to help animals that have been left behind by evacuees.

Among the car full of humanitarian aid, Mr Hales has packed coats, leads, collars and muzzles for cats and dogs, warm clothing, as well as cigarettes and food.

He has been planning the treacherous trip since the second day of the war, but plans were hindered due to his own physical medical conditions as well as misplacing his passport.

Mr Hales, who was left with lifelong injuries after breaking his back in a motorbike accident nearly 20 years ago, said: “I spent days and days looking for the passport but simply couldn’t find it. I turned the whole house upside down, until I found it amongst some keepsakes.”

Only six weeks ago Mr Hales lost his wife, Kaye, aged 47, who suddenly suffered a brain condition.

Mr Hales said: “When we first dated as teenagers, I would make her love songs, and record them on a cassette. I always sang to her, although my singing was never great.

“I found my passport right next to the cassette, and it was a clear sign of approval from my beloved wife. It was almost like her saying: ‘You are crazy for wanting to go, but I know you so well, you just have to help anybody you can’.

“Even though I have most things sorted, it’s not going to be easy to make this trip. It’s a very long drive from Sheffield to Hungary and then onto Ukraine.”

Written by Vitalii Yalahuzian

Journalism student at the University of Sheffield

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