Ukraine: ex-rugby league stars deliver aid to war victims

Chris Joynt St Helens PA
Chris Joynt in action for St Helens in 2001

Former Great Britain internationals Dave Lyon, Chris Joynt and Andy Coley have completed a 3,000-mile drive to deliver aid to the war victims in Ukraine. 

The trio, along with local businessman Michael Sharkey, drove two 7.5 tonne vans across Europe to humanitarian camps set up in Kroscienko on the border between Poland and Ukraine. They handed over donations of medical aid and personal supplies.

Former Warrington and St Helens player Lyon is now Wigan Council’s assistant director for housing and environment. He told the PA news agency: “It was an unbelievable experience.

“I was asked to help out by Michael Sharkey, whose Greenmount Projects company do work for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

“They are desperate for medical supplies in Ukraine and needed people to take the aid over.

“Mike asked me if I fancied it so we turned it around in the space of a week. Chris Joynt and myself drove one of the vehicles and Mike and Andy Coley, who works for Mike, drove the other.

“It was 3,000 miles in total and we did it in three or four-hour stints.

“It was a massive experience for us as individuals but, when you see the gratitude of the people experiencing war, it’s really humbling and made it all worthwhile because they’ve got nothing.

“You feel like you’re trying to make a difference. It was also really important that showed them some solidarity, that we were with them.”

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Lyon, Joynt and Coley pledge to do more for Ukraine

With the help of Wigan and Leigh College and Wigan Council, the quartet delivered two vans of items from first-aid and burns kits and generators to toothpaste and tampons.

The trio want to do even more to help the Ukrainian victims.

Lyon added: “They’ve got more donations sat there waiting.

“There is an opportunity to link in with the Steve Prescott Foundation who are sending aid over. Michael is thinking about commissioning a heavy goods vehicle to keep that aid going.

“What we took was a very small amount in comparison to what they need. It’s important we don’t forget and keep doing our bit.”

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