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Grandad in aid mission to Ukraine

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Dumfries and West
Grandad in aid mission to Ukraine

A BIG hearted Dumfriesshire grandad is embarking on a mercy mission to war-torn Ukraine this weekend – just months after undergoing a triple bypass operation.

Phil McGroggan, chairman of the Dumfries branch of trade union Unison, is using up his own annual leave and spending his hard-earned cash on flights to complete the European aid trip.

Despite the dangers of entering Ukraine, and his own recent serious health scare, Phil has no worries and his family are supportive of what he’s doing.

Phil, who is originally from Belfast, said: “It’ll be fine, I feel at total peace. It was the same four months ago when I had the triple and I was at peace about that.

“I knew everything was going to be okay, and I feel the exact same way about this.”

Phil, 62, had originally gone for a routine heart health check and was shocked when medics informed him that he’d require triple heart bypass surgery immediately.

The operation was completed at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, near Glasgow, and Phil spent three weeks in hospital recovering.

Phil is also chairman of a charity within Glen Aros Church in Dumfries, which supports orphanages in India, Cambodia and Uganda.

With some money left over in the charity account, Phil recently offered a donation to the European Initiative which is providing support in Ukraine.

The organisation’s leaders thanked Phil for the cash offer – but then asked if he would consider taking physical aid directly to Ukraine.

That means boarding a flight from Edinburgh to Budapest, picking up a vehicle with supplies, and then driving all day and night to Ukraine via the safest route possible.

“I spoke to my wife about it and then agreed to do it,” said Phil.

“They have minibuses over there and they fill them with supplies and provisions to help people.

“I fly out on Sunday and I’m going to be ten days over there, driving provisions in and out of Ukraine.”

Phil, who has one daughter and three grandchildren, has been following updates on the Ukrainian conflict on TV.

He said: “I think it’s tragic, so sad that people are going through this.”

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