Big-hearted Drumahoe man Wills Lynch says the crises in Kiev and Crimea won’t deter him from visiting Ukraine this summer as part of his ongoing humanitarian mission to Eastern Europe.
The former firefighter first visited Romanaia with a cargo of aid in the wake of the collapse of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s regime over 20 years ago but since then has been regularly travelling into Moldova and Ukraine as well (see pages 26 and 27).
Wills organised an ‘Evening of Gospel Praise’ to raise funds for the children of Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, ahead of a visit later this year. The Sentinel asked if the ongoing troubles in the area had prompted any pause for thought.
“Not at all,” said Wills. “Why would you If you lived here?”
The Drumahoe man says he’s spoken with friends in Ukraine who have ridiculed some of the figures quoted on the Russian side in terms of the demography of the Crimea.
But propaganda or otherwise aside, Wills says he doesn’t believe the crisis will have any affect on his work in the westernmost part of Ukraine.
“I know as many in Ukraine and in Romania and Moldova just in the same way as I know many in this area here,” he says.
“We stay in it, we live in it, maybe three or four days, five days, whenever they want us.”
He adds: “This crisis is just a thing, we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, the outcome’s better and there’s no loss of life.
“It’ll not affect us...the people - and I was talking to them the other day, yesterday, and - of course, like any place, they are fearful of what happens, if Russia were to start to move and try and take their whole country but people don’t know because it could happen at night and they are also fearful in Moldova as they’re lined up against the Russian border too.”
But Wills is up for the trip: “There is fear but at the same time I plan to go.”