Farming Matters: Matthew Steel - 'We look to stand together in the spirit of union'

Pubs are fantastic places: friendly locals, patient bar staff, an ear to chew, tasty food and tastier drink; the good ones tend to have all of these elements.

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Farming Matters: Matthew Steel - 'We look to stand together in the spirit of union'

Pubs are fantastic places: friendly locals, patient bar staff, an ear to chew, tasty food and tastier drink; the good ones tend to have all of these elements.

We are lucky enough to have a particularly enjoyable restaurant with pub situated between Forfar and the Angus Glens.

 

It was at this pub, around Christmas time, that a chance encounter with Mark Laird led to me becoming involved in the Pickups for Peace initiative that he has set up along with colleagues at the Central Plains Group, which is an agribusiness based in Western Ukraine.

 

It was our WhatsApp group’s annual Christmas night out, normally a night of mindless hedonism out of which nothing productive was likely to come.

 

Luckily, after another round of ‘digestifs’ were ordered, Mark and his colleagues came into the bar and introduced themselves. Amongst other things, he told us of the Pickups for Peace idea that he was just getting off the ground and asked if this would be something a bunch of twenty somethings would be interested in. We were. 

 

Pickups for Peace is an initiative whereby mainly 4x4s are donated to Ukraine to aid with bringing casualties, mortalities and civilians back from the East where the bulk of the fighting is.

 

On the return trip from Western Ukraine to Eastern Ukraine, they will hopefully be taking vital humanitarian supplies out to the front line.

 

It is clearly an admirable and worthwhile initiative, so I said I would do all that I could to help.

And so the wheels were set in motion for what will probably be one of the more meaningful trips I have undertaken.

As I write, I am preparing to drive out to Ukraine along with 21 other vehicles which have mostly been donated by people within the agricultural industry.

 

Once checks are completed, we will be handing over these vehicles to the Ukrainian military before flying home from Poland.

 

Not only is this a fantastic thing to do insofar as it is, in a very small way, helping a nation of people who have been blindsided by intolerable acts of cruelty such as Europe had hoped it would never see on its soils again.

 

It is also a good news story for farming, as we look to stand together in the face of lunacy and in the spirit of union.

 

We do this so our Ukrainian friends can hopefully spend next Christmas enjoying food and drink with their friends and family.

 

As Edmund Burke MP stated: "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing.”

 

We are still looking for trucks to be donated up until the end of May. So, if you have one lying around, or feel you would like to donate supplies or money, then please get in touch with the Pickups for Peace initiative.

 

We have various social media profiles, and the best email address is [email protected].

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