A Ukrainian worker at popular South Shields takeaway restaurant Friez and Burgz thanks South Tyneside, as the couple set up collection points in the borough to support those fleeing Ukraine

Danielle Lamoury, 37, and her companion, Gavin Benos, 41, have decided to set up collections throughout the borough for people who want to help after thousands of people were forced to flee the country following the invasion by Russia.

The donated goods will be given to the North East company ‘Rubbish Taxi’ which will drive them to the Polish border.

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From L- R Cllr Moira Smith, Andria Willliams of Morrisons, Gavin Benos, Alex Lucas, Lee Hughes of Red Hackle, Mark Pattinson of Morrisons and Danielle Lamoury

Danielle, from Brockley Whins, South Shields, said: “I just felt pushed to do something. The images on the news are heartbreaking and I felt so helpless.

“I don’t see any other way to help, but at least this way we can all show our support for these poor people who had to leave their homes with next to nothing.”

The North East is home to dozens of Ukrainians who were deeply saddened to see the Russian invasion wreaking havoc in their homeland.

Among them is Alex Lucas, who works at Friez & Burgz in Fowler Street, South Shields, which hosts a collection point.

He said: “There’s so much support and so many nice people who really care who are here, donating, supporting, it’s just very nice and gives hope.”

Councilor Moira Smith, Member responsible for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Co-operatives, praised the couple’s community spirit.

She said: “I’m sure we will all have felt moved by the scenes of devastation that fill our television screens. As in any conflict, it is ordinary people who suffer the most. The generous people of South Tyneside have a long and proud history of reaching out and supporting those in need.

“I appreciate that many residents are facing hardship in the current economic climate, but I also know that those who can give will give.”

“It’s this kind of community spirit and cooperation that has led to the launch of the #Love South Tyneside campaign which recognizes those who give their time to support others. I commend Danielle and Gavin for their efforts and all the residents I know will support them.

Andria Williams, Community Champion at Morrisons in Jarrow, said: “All the Community Champions from all Morrisons stores are behind this. We will have buckets on tills at all Morrisons stores across the country in the coming days, we are preparing pick up packs and stores will have their own donation station and working with community groups in their area.

“We felt compelled to do something because we care about ourselves, and we know our customers do too.

Collection points for donations have been set up across South Tyneside, including at the Red Hackle pub in Jarrow, Morrison’s in South Shields and Jarrow, Living Waters Church and Friez & Burgz.

For the latest news and information on the invasion of Ukraine, click here for NationalWorld coverage.

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