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Nowhere else he would rather be

THE WASHINGTON POST – As the Russian onslaught intensified in Ukraine, Tom Littledyke decided he could no longer sit idle.

During a restless sleep on Sunday night, the United Kingdom-based man got an idea: He would drive more than 1,000 miles from his home in Lyme Regis – a tiny town in West Dorset, England – to the Ukraine-Poland border, where thousands of displaced Ukrainians are seeking to flee their besieged country.

Littledyke, 31, decided to fill his 16-seater minibus with essential supplies and deliver them to refugees. “I need to do this,” he said.

Before Littledyke left Lyme Regis at noon on Monday, he and Wellman told the local community about their efforts and said they would leave the minibus unlocked in front of their home in case anyone had supplies to donate.

“Within an hour and a half, the minibus was full of kids’ toys, food, sanitary products, sleeping bags, thermals and tents,” said Wellman.

Tom Littledyke drove 1,000 miles to Ukraine’s border. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Littledyke embarked on a solo, 1,000-mile mission, which took him 28 hours, including breaks to rest.

Littledyke’s initial plan was to deliver supplies to Ukrainians at the border and at refugee camps in Poland, but once he saw the dire need for transportation, he started driving groups of Ukrainians from a train station in Lviv to the border “so they could cross into Poland”, he said.

When he pulled up at the Lviv train station, “all these people were huddled around, crying, holding their children, waiting for buses in the thousands”, said Littledyke.

Given the awful circumstances, he said, there’s nowhere else he’d rather be. ”I will never regret being here,” Littledyke said. “I feel very humbled by the fact that I’ve been able to help others.”

So far, he has taken several trips from the train station to the border and has brought with him about 65 refugees. Mainly, he has transported women, children and older adults.

Although there is a language barrier between most people he has encountered, Littledyke has managed to build a bond with many of his passengers.

While Littledyke is out on the road, Wellman has stayed home, contacting refugees on social media.

“I’ve been dealing with the admin. side of it,” Wellman said.