Old soldiers across north-east sending unused kit to Ukraine's defence

“Old soldiers” from across the North East are pitching in to donate much-needed field kit to Ukrainian troops defending the country from Putin’s aggression.

By Morag Kuc
Friday, 1st April 2022, 9:06 am
Mark met with Zhenya in Aberdeen.

A conversation between Aberdeenshire councillor Mark Findlater and campaigner Zhenya Dove revealed conscripts and volunteer forces are crying out for helmets, Kevlar vests and any protective equipment.

Mark approached a meeting of the Aberdeenshire Veterans group on Friday to create a scheme by which former serving personnel would donate “Gucci” kit – personal items bought to supplement Army gear – to be taken by lorry to the Ukraine border. Gordon Highlanders and Black Watch veterans have now offered Mark their support.

Mark, who served in the British Army for 23 years in bomb disposal, said: “It was a real privilege to meet Zhenya, who is the most passionate advocate for Ukraine’s freedom you could ever meet.

“She contacted me a couple of days ago stating that she had been in contact with her friends who are on the front line. They are in desperate need of helmets and body armour. They have bought bullet-proof vests from private companies which cost an awful lot of money and they don’t give the level of protection they were told they would give. They had heard that the British kit is very good and are crying out for any we can give.

“I bought some kit for myself years ago and it has been sitting in my shed gathering dust. I asked my old Army buddies if they have any of their old ‘Gucci’ kit as we called it and I have been staggered by the response. They are sending it up to me or dropping off. There is a lorry that goes over to the Ukrainian border every week and there are lots of volunteers to pick the kit up.

“We’ll write wee messages of support in black marker pen to the Ukrainians that are going to be using them.”

Ms Dove said: “The people of Scotland and the UK have been so supportive and generous. But the troops on the front need another kind of help. These are our best people putting their lives on the line so I could one day return to hug my mum and dad.”

“Already the response has been great and there are no words to express just how grateful we all are.”