A BROMSGROVE couple who trekked over 33 miles in one day to raise cash to provide Ukrainian children with festive gifts have appealed to others to help spread some Christmas cheer in the war-torn country.
Cathie and Craig Swainland walked the length of the Birmingham to Worcester canal earlier this month to raise money for the Gift of Heaven project, which gives out presents to Ukrainian children in front-line areas.
Last year, Craig met Svitlana Hlovatska at Bromsgrove Baptist Church, who had fled Ukraine shortly after the outbreak of war.
Svitlana had worked for a mobile medical charity alongside her husband, who is still in Ukraine, and last month she mentioned to Craig and Cathie it needed to raise money for its annual present giving to children.
The duo decided to start a sponsored walk in support of the appeal and set up a GoFundMe page.
Cathie and Craig got up to start their walk at 5.15am and finished the trek in Worcester around 12 hours later.
They have raised £1,200 for the appeal so far.
Craig told the Standard: “I’ve never walked that far before so after a while, we were just willing ourselves on to keep going, towards the end my legs were feeling like lead.
“The big challenge was to get to Worcester by dark so we were just marching as quickly as we could.
“When we finished we felt so proud, it was really nice to have done the walk just the two of us.”
The charity Svitlana works for helps families in the eastern areas of Ukraine where hostilities have been ongoing since 2014.
Craig added: “Families in the region are struggling with the uncertainties and dangers that war brings.
“Some of the towns have been occupied and then liberated; some have been devastated by shelling.
“Christmas presents for children are low down on the list and the money raised will certainly bring a smile to the children’s faces when they are given their gifts.”
Bromsgrove Baptist Church is now taking donations towards the toy appeal and Craig and Cathie will be accepting cash up until Christmas.
To donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/gift-of-heaven-project or contact Bromsgrove Baptist Church.