A PEEBLES farmer who grows potatoes in Ukraine has travelled across Europe to drop off essential supplies to the war-torn country.

Keith Dawson has been working with Pickups for Peace to send 100 4x4 vehicles and thousands of pounds worth of aid to support the Ukrainian frontline.

Having just sent its first convoy to Lviv, in western Ukraine, the group is set to send another 23 cars next week.

The 64-year-old was part of the first trip along with five 20-year-olds from the Borders.

Now back in Peebles, Mr Dawson said: “Myself and a group of Scottish farmers have been farming in Ukraine for the last 17 years.”

When war broke out in Ukraine last year, Mr Dawson and fellow farmers wondered what they could do to help.

“We decided to send 100 4x4s to Ukraine filled with supplies, driven by farmers and other industries,” he said.

“We’ve all been humbled by the generosity of the Scottish and particularly the Borders people.”

As well as the vehicles, Mr Dawson and Pickups for Peace have transported generators, clothing, medical supplies, and tyres to Ukraine.

The drivers joining the first convoy were aged between 18 and 74 years old.

Mr Dawson said: “We paid our respects to the young fallen soldiers from Lviv killed only days before in fierce fighting around Bakhmut.

“There are photos of the deceased on the graves.”

On the 20-year-old Borderers he travelled with, he said: “I think seeing photos of men their age made a real impact on them.”

Plans for the third convoy in April are already under way.

Mr Dawson and fellow farmers in Lviv have had to make difficult decisions over the last year.

The Peebles man is the technical director of the farm, run by Central Plains Group Ukraine, a sustainable farming organisation. He said that their farm in western Ukraine has experienced the effects of missile strikes in the region, causing them to question what measures to take. However, in an effort to support food security, they went ahead with their plans.

He said: “We had to take the decision whether to plant or not last year.

“In an act of defiance we planted and the team is working hard.”

At the time of publication, the group had raised £78,849 of its £100,000 target which they aim to reach by June.

Mr Dawson said: “We will hit our target and we’ll keep going.”

He added: “It’s all our war, really.”

Members of the public can donate vehicles – up to 15 years old, with a valid MOT and good tyres – or they can donate directly to Pickups for Peace to help fund resources, the purchase of vehicles, and the cost to get them to Ukraine. To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/help-cpg-ukraine or to contact the team about volunteering or donating a vehicle, call 07501 100 393, or email: pickupsforpeace@memus.com