A UKRAINIAN national from Appleshaw who has raised £15,000 for humanitarian aid since the war in Ukraine began has been reunited with her goddaughter who have arrived in the UK.

As previously reported, Olga Kott organised a peaceful demonstration in Salisbury on February 27, which brought together hundreds of supporters of the Ukrainian cause. From there, she launched a fundraiser which has raised almost £15,000 to date.

The mother-of-two who is originally from the city of Zaporizhzhya in south-east Ukraine, watched on ‘heartbroken’ as her family and friends remained trapped in the country.

Olga, who runs a soft furnishings business and has lived in the UK for 15 years, has now welcomed her 18-year-old goddaughter Liza to the UK.

Thanks to the kindness of a local GP who decided to drive to Poland to collect refugees, Liza, along with Olga’s university friend Katerina and her daughter, have been transported safely to Hampshire.

READ MORE: Andover woman from Ukraine sets up peaceful demonstration

Olga said that Liza, who lived opposite her family home in Ukraine, is “like a child” to her.

Olga applied for a visa for Liza, who waited anxiously with a host family in Poland until it was granted exactly one month later.

“She had just started university and she had never even been out of the country so it was huge excitement,” said Olga.

“She took a train to Poland, and it was the time when there were thousands of people at the station. It was so hard to get on [the train]. There were no men allowed, it was only for women and children.

“People sat on the floor; it was 30 hour or more hours of just being stuck on the floor. She was so tired but she couldn’t sleep. But everyone helped each other.”

The 38-year-old continued: “All these weeks, she has been safe in Poland but she has worried about her mum and her grandma. It’s getting closer and closer to our city. She feels better now, because I am a part of her family.”

With the help of the doctor and other members of the community, Liza has been able to secure driving lessons and a job as an au pair with a local family.

“Before, we were quite scared and we didn’t know what to do,” said Olga. “But now we have already filled out 36 [visa] application forms, 700 people came to our event in Salisbury and many of them offered to help and afterwards we set up the fund and have managed to send humanitarian aid to the most affected areas.

“It has worked out so well. One person cannot do all of this without help and we now have a proper team and everyone has worked together. People in the UK have done an amazing job.”

READ MORE: Ukrainian national Olga Kott launches fundraiser for refugees

Olga’s parents and sister remain in Ukraine, unwilling to leave their homes and roots.

“They are very attached to their homes and homelands,” said Olga.

“They still hope that they can stay there. My mum just looks at everything, photos and things we made for her, and she cannot leave. From one side it might sound ridiculous, but on the other it’s their home.”

She added that she is glad that she has at least managed to get Liza to the UK.

“Young people have a chance to start a new life,” she said.

“It’s been a major project but it’s starting to feel like the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.”

Olga's fundraiser is still open at: gofund.me/cb7ee8fc.

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