AFTER four trips to Ukraine since the war began, Teignmouth man Trevor Buffery has a new mission, to help save a wildlife sanctuary in Ukraine. The idea came to him when he visited the sanctuary and saw first hand the good it did for both the animals and the people who came to see them.

‘We were back in Ukraine for three weeks, just after Christmas,’ Trevor explained, ‘I was delivering aid for the Ukraine Humanitarian Hub, a group of people working to deliver aid, sharing information, what’s going on, who’s got what and who can go where.

‘We were doing a five-day road trip to deliver generators to different orphanages and day centres, but one of the places we went was this animal sanctuary.

‘They cooked us a bit of lunch, we looked around, the animals looked really well cared for. They explained that before the war, children from orphanages and hospices would come from all over the country to learn about the animals. They’d pet them, have lunch, paint, and spend the day there. It was a great day out for all the children, bearing in mind that many of them were mentally or physically handicapped.’

While the orphanage had been flourishing before the war, they have been struggling to make ends meet since, despite animal supplies remaining relatively cheap.

Trevor said: ‘I was really impressed with the couple that ran the place, but they said that they’re really struggling for food. They’d already reached out to the hub because they were in such desperate need. They said that last week, they had to sell the fluffy bunny rabbits to buy grain for the racoons, emus and ostrich.

‘Of course, since the war started, they’ve also been taking in animals from people who’ve died in the war in other areas, and try and re-home them. So while having no money, they’ve got even more of a workload.

‘I was impressed with it all, so thought when I get back to Britain I’d try and do something. I put a little Gofundme up and see if anyone would be interested in helping.’

While you can donate to the sanctuary by searching ‘Trevor Buffery’ on the Gofundme website, Trevor is also asking for aid donations from March 6 to when he leaves again on March 13. Items wanted are namely toiletries and supplies for women and children, or ‘anything for people on the move’. Donations can be dropped at Trevor’s shop in Teignmouth the Treasure Trove or Style Works hairdressers in Exeter.