A Ledbury shop owner has been overwhelmed by donations from people wanting to help refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Lara Sysum, who runs Pacific Dove Clothing in The Homend, set up a hub in the shop so people in Ledbury have somewhere to donate items.

The shop started taking donations on Monday and has already sent large collections to groups in Newent, Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye.

“Watching the news has absolutely devastated me,” said Lara. “The people of Ukraine need all the help they can get.

“I noticed there were a few groups starting to collect so I wanted to join in. I asked if Ledbury had a collection point already, which we didn’t.

“So as I have a shop in the middle of the high street I thought I’d become a collection hub for Ledbury residents, then filter the donated items to the different organisations. This generally makes it easier and quicker to donate, and also gets more people joining in if they have a nearby drop-off point.

“The response has been fantastic. There’s always something we can do to help. So let’s do it.”

Donations of practical items

The collection organisers are asking for a number of items including baby products, sanitary products including sanitary towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and deodorant, first aid items, pet food and blankets, dry food items with a long shelf life and clothing - particularly underwear, socks, gloves and hats.

Pupils, parents and staff at Ledbury Primary School have also been collecting donations of practical items including medical supplies, vitamins, raincoats, sleeping bags, food and torches.

Many of these have been delivered to the Ukrainian Church of the Good Shepherd in Gloucester, which has now had so many donations that it has temporarily stopped accepting more, other than medical and first aid items.

Donations can also be taken to Ledbury Town Council’s offices, the Market House and Ledbury Library in the Master’s House. But the message from all collection points is to please only donate the items being requested and to avoid clothing in particular.