Mr NIKOLAY - Raising Funds for the Ukraine Crisis

24 FEBRUARY 2023
The first anniversary of Russia's unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.

'It has now been a year that the people of Ukraine have suffered unimaginably from an unprovoked full-scale attack on their nation.' King Charles III

'As we mark one year since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since, have fought heroically for their country.' Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak

'There must be a future with a just and stable peace - a free and secure Ukraine - and the beginning of a generation's long process of healing and reconciliation.' Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

£50,000 TARGET ACHIEVED ... ... NOW, LET'S GO FOR £55,000 !!!

24 FEBRUARY 2023 ... on this day, the anniversary of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, it is right to reflect on our journey for, without your support, none of this would have been possible. During the year, I have travelled to Hungary (eight times) and, onward into Ukraine (nine times) supporting displaced communities and other projects as Ukrainians look to rebuild their shattered lives.

As I write this today, the funds raised stand at a scarcely believable ... £53,269.

Thank you, everyone, for your unwavering support and generosity throughout the year. We have been able to support many initiatives; you can read more about some of these below. Our work is far from done; as we move forward, I am establishing projects with longevity; again, you can read more below.

I first established this site in March 2022; much of what I have written holds good today. I know what I have written is long; it is as seen through my own eyes; it is harrowing and, it is heart-breaking; please take time to read it.

Please be assured that I fund all my own personal expenses; flights, accommodation, meals. This ensures that every penny you kindly donate is applied to supporting a project for the Ukrainian community; I take no 'overhead' expenses.


At the start of this crisis, Hungarian friends of mine drove to Tiszabecs, a crossing on the Hungary-Ukraine border; the scenes were chaotic, relying solely on volunteer help; they helped for three days until exhaustion took hold. They went home for a day before, on Friday 4 March 2022, heading to Budapest Keleti International Railway Station; we spoke in a video call; the scenes were the most appalling, the most harrowing, the most heart-breaking I have witnessed - ever. (The 'profile' photo above is Keleti ticket office on Friday 4 March 2022).

The platforms were overflowing with women, their children and elderly relatives, many completely traumatised, penniless; the fear of never seeing their loved ones again. They were stranded, unable to even buy a train ticket; most didn’t want to remain in Hungary but to reach another part of Europe where they may have family or friends. The three of us were too upset to talk. Pictured below - Keleti International Railway Station:

So, we spoke at midnight when they returned home; I said I (’we’) want to help; ‘how’, I asked; my friends' response was ‘cash, cash, cash’; there was no organisation; no food, no water, no free toilet; no transport; nothing. On the morning of Saturday 5 March 2022, I went to my local Prontaprint; they printed me 150 letters free of charge; I placed them through nearby letterboxes; I was hoping to raise maybe a couple of thousand. I could never have imagined a dawn was breaking …

Mr Nikolay - the name. I was asked by many people - here in England, in Hungary and in Ukraine - for the name of 'our Group’; saying it’s Knowle and Dorridge and the broader community in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and The West Midlands doesn’t really cut it !!! In Hungary, they all call me ‘Mr Nikolay’; I thought this gave everything an identity; at the time, I couldn’t think of anything else; I hope it’s a name that I, you, we, they can all stand behind.


I have personally travelled to Ukraine nine times during the war; seven times to Uzhhorod with food and essential supplies, taking them to the ‘Charitable Foundation Saint George Caritas’ run by the remarkable Father Peter and, more recently (October 2022 and January 2023), twice to Kyiv.

On Friday 8 April 2022, I returned to Birmingham with 'our' first refugee family, now safely living in their new home in Knowle. On Friday 6 May 2022 the new 'Learning Without Borders School' (see below) opened in Budapest, funded by our community. On Wednesday 12 October 2022, I went to Hostomel and Irpin to witness some of the atrocities of the very first days of the war; Pictured below - Hostomel:

On Wednesday 18 January 2023, I visited the Okhmatdyt National Children's Specialised Hospital in Kyiv; the hospital desperately needs support and I am currently developing a couple of projects with the lead doctors and surgeons.

We will move forward together, helping where we can; please support the work we do.

I could write forever; I write notes as I go along, trying to capture, in the moment, what I see, my mood and my emotions; I look back and many of them are upsetting. Allow me, please, to share some of them that try to encapsulate the scenes as seen through my own eyes; long, I know, but many people have kindly said they help to form an understanding.


I wrote the below during the evening of Sunday 3 April 2022 before our first food and aid run into Ukraine the following day:

I begin by wiping the tear that’s just fallen to the page; one of a thousand this week. 

On Monday, I arrived in Budapest to see with my own eyes, hoping to help. By 9:30 hrs on Tuesday morning my illusions were shattered; my first meeting was with my friend Mariann, with Enikő from Migration Aid and with Sylviia (read on). The pictures you see on the TV are shocking enough; when you sit here in Budapest and ask a Ukrainian family to tell their story over a coffee, it completely tears you (and them) apart. Never, could I have properly prepared for what lay ahead.

The Hungarian authorities have created a vast transit camp (‘BOK’, next to the Puskás Aréna) that offers everything. Trains now stop at Kőbánya to the north of Budapest with refugees encouraged to pass through the transit camp; many do but, many still go directly to Keleti International Railway Station (often for onward travel to a more distant destination). Pictured below; BOK Transit Facility - Budapest:

But, the law in some onward countries is such that passengers must have a seat reservation (3 Euros); the vast majority of refugees have no money. And, the toilet at Keleti costs 200 forints (40p - it’s gone up to 250 forints today) but, again, they have no money. And, the water standpipe doesn't always work so there is no water. And, there's no food so they are hungry. They only get these items if they pass through the transit camp; approximately 30% don't; the living nightmare deepens.

On Wednesday, I decided to be a surrogate Ukrainian refugee and to follow the exact path the refugees take into Budapest; I wanted to see with my own eyes. So, I took the transit bus from Keleti and entered the transit camp as a refugee. I hope not to be doing the journey again any time soon; for a start, the smell on the bus; many arriving are so poor and so uneducated they have no idea how to use a flush toilet.

Estimates say over four million people have already fled Ukraine; nearly 500,000 to Hungary; the initial daily surge has subsided; numbers have become more manageable. But, that only tells a small part of the story. My Ukrainian connections tell me possibly as many as NINE MILLION more have fled to the west of Ukraine away from the likes of Mariupol, Kharkiv and Donbas; they hope to remain in their homeland; but, should Putin move west, another unthinkable human catastrophe awaits to unfold.

On Thursday, we found Liza and Léna, two completely traumatised Ukrainian women, one with a young son, Maxim, plus SEVENTEEN animals (they had an animal sanctuary); they had not a single penny. The husband of one of the ladies (the father of the son) had been shot dead defending Kyiv; what can you do, what can you say. The ‘system’ doesn’t provide for such situations; the group wanted to head to Montenegro for sanctuary; together, we hired a minibus and driver and sent them on their way.

Later in the afternoon, I met Edit, a Hungarian lady who has a small table in the Keleti foyer; the station only allows her to stay there because she's been there from the very first day. She and her friends work every day providing free sandwiches and water and 200 forint coins for the toilets.

They do this from their own pockets or from friends; they spend 70,000 forints every day (about £150). How she gets the money, I have no idea because they are clearly poor Hungarian people. Yesterday (Saturday 2 April 2022) she spent 50,500 forints (about £120; 102 people) on helping people have access to the toilets at Keleti; I know this because I have the receipt. Pictured below - some of the provisions provided by our community at Keleti International Railway Station; Thursday 7 May 2022:

And, so to Silviia; I found 'our' first Ukrainian refugee family; Mum and Dad and 4-year-old son. Their UK visas were granted on the Tuesday; I bought their plane tickets on the Wednesday; (they came 'home' to Solihull with me on Friday 8 April 2022) to begin a new life with their wonderful host family in Knowle. Maybe please reflect for a few moments. Packed in one hour, they fled to the border; their life possessions in one suitcase; their entire life savings in their pockets. They left their dog, they said goodbye (yes, it could be goodbye) to their parents and their friends. 

UPDATE 23 FEBRUARY 2023 - we have now brought twenty people to the Solihull / North Warwickshire region under the 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme.


On Monday 4 April 2022, I went into Ukraine for the first time; I wrote the below in The Priests' House in Uzhhorod, Ukraine before retiring to bed:

This evening is the most extraordinary night I have ever lived; world without end. After delivering food and emergency provisions in Uzhhorod in Ukraine, we had dinner in The Priests' House; Peter the Priest then took us for a walk around this absolutely beautiful city; we came home, he gave us a bottle of home-made Ukrainian wine.

Gyuri (Peter's twin brother) and I opened it and, as we began to drink, the air raid sirens started to scream; the missiles soared overhead; a black Tanzanian lady came from her room; a refugee lady who has nothing but insisted we ate her cakes.

A dichotomy of complete confusion. 

When silence returned, Peter the Priest said, come, I will say English mass in the small chapel. I went with Gyuri; the small chapel has four seats; Peter began 'Blessed Brother, Blessed Nick'. 

As Peter took the wine at the end of mass, the air raid sirens exploded again; 'Nick, this mass is for you and the people in your community who have given for our community'. 

Tonight is a night that will remain with me forever.

Pictured below - our second food and aid delivery to Uzhhorod; Monday 25 April 2022 (left to right, Mr Nikolay !!!, Zoli, Peter the Priest and Attila):


Today, I walked 110 laps of Knowle Park to raise further funds for Ukraine. Starting at 00:02 hrs on the morning of Sunday 17 April 2022, I walked for 17 hours 5 minutes 48 seconds covering 101.98 kms, walking 118,104 steps (verified by Strava and Step Tracker). A long-held 'bucket list' challenge completed to walk 100 kms in one day... followed by an excellent pint in The Red Lion, Knowle !!! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and donated as I went on my way. Late in the day, it dawned on me that I take the early flight to Budapest in the morning; planning without thinking !!!


I wrote this immediately I returned to the car after visiting some of the sick and some of the soldiers in Uzhhorod Hospital; I have edited it a little (xxx); if you would like to know why, please send a message via the 'CONTACT' button below:

... o-h m-y G-o-d
... I thought I'd see it all; until today
... it is just beyond words; the doctors in the hospital xxx to patch up the broken bodies
... you talk to the mentally scarred who look at you but don't see you
... you fear walking around the next corner

... ... ... the first bomb dropped in this region yesterday at Volovets ... ... ...

Pictured below - Uzhhorod Hospital:


This 'school' (more properly a ‘Day Care Centre’ to comply with Hungarian legislation) is situated on the fifth floor of a building occupied by ‘Obi’ (the equivalent of B&Q); they have donated the space free of charge; the furniture is being donated, much of it by Ikea. The walls have been beautifully decorated by Ukrainian refugee artists.

On Friday 22 April 2022, Migration Aid (Hungary) invited me to a meeting; they outlined their plans for the 'school'; 15 Ukrainian teachers, teaching 80 Ukrainian children, in Ukrainian; they needed funding. Notwithstanding the enormity of the project (18,000,000 forints; £40,000), I am humbled beyond words to have been asked; I had little option but to say 'yes'; it is, of course, a massive statement about what our community has already delivered in Budapest (and, in Uzhhorod in Ukraine). The centre opened to the children on Tuesday 26 April 2022; the 'official opening' was on Friday 6 May 2022. Initially, this is a short-term project to the end of the school year in June 2022 that directly benefits Ukrainian refugees. 

The aims of the 'school' are:   

To provide short-term paid employment for 15 refugee Ukrainian teachers
To provide a structured learning environment for 80 refugee Ukrainian children
To provide proper meals and nourishment for the Ukrainian children
To enable Ukrainian mothers to take part-time day jobs whilst their children learn

On Tuesday 29 November 2022 I was privileged to be invited ... 'We would be delighted to welcome you as a particularly important supporter of us' ... to a small reception at the Learning Without Borders School in the presence of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. I gladly accepted the invitation on behalf of all of us who have been so instrumental in establishing this wonderful facility in Budapest; Pictured below - (left to right) Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York; András Siewert, President Migration Aid, Hungary; Mr Nikolay !!!

'It is a great honour to be here and to see the Hungarians reaching out to the refugee children. These children need hope. I myself am leaving here with hope, believing that unity is possible. It is wonderful what the helpers and supporters have done here. My message to the Ukrainians here is the following: I know you want to go home and rebuild your country. For my part, I will do everything I can to make this possible. So, if you see my red hair, you know I'm here with you and I'm here to help. I want to help build Montessori schools in Ukraine because education is a priority for me. I want to support friendship and cooperation.' said the Duchess.


In October 2022, I attempted my biggest, boldest and most bizarre challenge; those privy to my plans said the most stupid !!! I set out to walk 1,000,000 steps during the month to raise a further 1,000,000 Ukrainian Hryvnia (approximately £25,000) to help some of those whose lives have been shattered.

In the event, I walked 1,034,368 steps; that equated to an average of 33,367 steps per day; approximately 15 miles daily; the equivalent of a half marathon each day of the month. Some days I walked more (the most was 60,590 steps); some days, I walked less. My itinerary took me to Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia and, to our own green and pleasant land.


Our work is far from done.

My first visit to Kyiv was on Monday 10 October 2022, arriving into Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi railway station at 09:46 hrs in the midst of Putin’s barbaric revenge to the Kerch Bridge attack. News, of course, had already spread as the train approached Kyiv. The sense of anger yet undiminished resolve and determination were palpable. I left the train and descended to the subway beneath the platforms. Reality struck; the subway was packed, overflowing with women and children, traumatised and crying.

I emerged from the subway into the vast plaza in front of the station building. I was the ONLY person in the plaza apart from Ukrainian police. Despite the mayhem of broken glass everywhere, there was an eerie calmness; the thud and boom of rockets exploding across Kyiv disturbed the silence. Picture below - shattered windows at Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi railway station on Monday 10 October 2022 as Putin began his attack on Ukraine's infrastructure:

The randomness of the continued attacks is horrific (and, inexcusable). Picture below - a misguided missile that landed beside the children's play area in Taras Shevchenko Park, central Kyiv on Monday 22 October 2022:

When I returned to Kyiv in January 2023, the randomness of attacks continued; at 08:30 hrs on Saturday 14 January 2023 my hosts and I were shaken from our beds as four rockets landed nearby; the house shook in its boots. Danger is never far away; Pictured below - house destroyed by falling debris less than 100 metres from my hosts' house in Kyiv:

Our work continues; the initial flood of refugees seeking safe sanctuary but the risk remains of a second wave if Russia gains ground in the spring. In the meantime, I am sourcing projects that are desperately in need of support; financially, with equipment and with aid.

Two such projects are Vynogradiv Refugee Orphanage near Mukachevo in western Ukraine and the Okhmatdyt National Children’s Specialised Hospital in Kyiv. The Head of the Emergency Department at the hospital recently wrote to me:

‘Dear Mr Nick !

The need for medical assistance has increased significantly not only among the military, but also among the civilian population, in particular children, due to the constant shelling of our country. In connection with the destruction of many hospitals and maternity homes, the need for providing highly qualified care for children has increased significantly, and our hospital, as the main children’s hospital of the country, is doing everything possible to ensure effective treatment of patients from all over the country.

Consequently, the surgeons of our hospital often have to operate on complications due to late visits to the doctor and injuries caused by constant shelling. In addition, we have been and remain the largest centre in Ukraine for the treatment of congenital and acquired malformations.’


If you have arrived at this point, thank you for reading. I wanted to keep this to one page; I couldn’t; it could have been 101 pages; I can assure you I could easily have made the read even more heart-wrenching.

You have my unequivocal assurance that not one penny of your money has been, nor will be wasted nor spent on 'central overheads'; every penny has been spent as if it were my own. Never did I think I would see sights like I have; at times, I have felt completely traumatised and utterly helpless; my mind will never be free of the images I have seen; God alone knows how the fleeing millions must feel. Everywhere, the pain and the anguish is beyond words. 

The situation is absolutely scandalous; in twelve months in Budapest and in Ukraine I've truly not seen one banner, not one logo, not one word, not one stand representing any one of the ‘UK’ aid agencies; nor one single English speaking (ie from the United Kingdom) aid worker. Where are the countless millions of pounds that have been raised in the United Kingdom ??? For sure, the agencies must be somewhere, but Lord knows where they are. 

Of course, the money we have together raised not even scratches the surface; but we are there, and we are active on the ground. Some of the projects we have supported are:

In the early day, buying train and bus tickets and supporting translators
In the early days, providing toilets and hot water at Keleti International Railway Station
Every day, funding Edit to provide sandwiches, food and water at Keleti
Every day, paying 250 forints (60p) per refugee for them to use the toilets at Keleti
We have part funded and help established the ‘Baby Mama’ facility in ‘The BOK’ 
Food and aid runs to ‘Charitable Foundation Saint George Caritas’ in Uzhhorod, Ukraine
We funded the 'Learning Without Borders' school in Budapest until June 2022
Sourcing UK Sponsor Hosts and applying for UK visas

If you think you, your relatives, your friends, your workplace, your connections can help in any way, please be free to contact me or invite them to contact me. Maybe host a family and help them rebuild their shattered lives; maybe organise a coffee morning; maybe organise a quiz night in your local pub; maybe organise a sponsored walk; maybe ... ... ... ... ...; do, please contact me via the 'CONTACT' button (below) if you can help.

What I’d really like to say best remain unspoken … … … one despot; 44 million lives.

But, even so, amongst all this rubble, you stumble across rays of sunshine that illuminate the darkness; for sure, Ukraine will rise again. 

Lord of all the earth, be present with the people of Ukraine
at this time of danger, fear and conflict.
Grant that wise and peaceable counsels may yet prevail and
give to all suffering nations the freedom they desire and deserve.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(Worcester Cathedral - August 2022)

Thank you for reading; best wishes, Nick (Mr. Nikolay !!!)
Become the first supporter

Your donation matters

GoFundMe protects your donation

We guarantee you a full refund for up to a year in the rare case that fraud occurs. See our GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.

See all


Nick Wormald

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.