Two former Kingsbridge Community College students are possibly the first to hold up a Devon flag in the no man’s land between the border of Ukraine and Russia.

Ben (25) and Luke (23) joined their father Adrian Simpson (64) as co-drivers for Mission Aid Ukraine.

They handed over a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which had been converted to a frontline ambulance to a reserve brigade after a 4,500-mile drive from the South Hams.

Adrian said: “On our first run we delivered our vehicle to an assault brigade in a location just short of the frontline near Bakhmut.

“As we made the drop off we made a basic error and stopped in the open, near the unit’s stability station, and as a result we were picked up by a Russian drone and quickly told to get the vehicles under trees.’’

The journeys involved a crossing to the Hook of Holland then Germany and Poland before arriving at the border with Ukraine.

Adrian explained: “We raised part of the funds locally and included 30 IFAK (individual first aid kits). These personal trauma pouches contain vital life saving kit like tourniquets and chest seals.

“Unbelievably there are not enough high quality tourniquets or other personal life saving kit.’’

The trip took the team deep into Ukraine and Adrian described the experience: “We drove onto to the beautiful historic city of Lviv and then had the first of many air raid sirens of the trip and then the long drive, over 1,000km, down to Odessa and Mykolaiv where two amazing guys, Igor and Aelx, converted the Mitsubishi Shogun in 48 hours, fuelled by brandy and the two bottles of Jameson whisky we gave them, bought from Tesco in Kingsbridge.

“We also delivered of a pot of jam from a Ukrainian refugee in Thurlestone to her mother in Mykolaiv.’’

The work continues as the team are about to set off on another trip today (January 18).

This time around they can expect temperatures of minus 10C so they will be taking their snow boots.

As well as the vehicle conversion they will be delivering casevac boots to the Dnipro River.

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Instagram: missionaidforukraine Web