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Tunbridge Wells couple are buying body armour for Ukrainian resistance fighters

A Tunbridge Wells couple have raised £55,500 to buy much-needed body armour for Ukrainians fighting to defend their country.

John and Clare Lynch run an IT company Maytech Communications, an international business, based in Tunbridge Wells and London, but also has a team of 30 employees based in Lviv in Ukraine.

Clare and John Lynch
Clare and John Lynch

Mr Lynch, 45, said: "I love Ukraine; it's a beautiful country. I must have been there 60 times or more.

"Our staff are not currently in an area where there is fighting, so they are still bravely going into work. But they are being affected by all the refugees fleeing to safety from other parts of Ukraine, and in the evenings they are working to support those refugees in any way they can.

"We asked them what we could do to help, and they said what was really needed was body armour for the volunteers fighting against the Russians."

Mr Lynch admitted that a week ago, he would have known nothing about how to source body armour, but said his wife, Clare, 42, had soon established links with a supplier.

He said: "It's not just any body armour, it needs to be of a sufficient grade to protect against bullets."

The body armour will help protect Ukraine's fighters
The body armour will help protect Ukraine's fighters

He said the £55,500 raised so far would be sufficient to buy around 150 sets of vests and Grade 4 armoured plates.

Now the couple are in negotiation with the Ukrainian Embassy to arrange their shipment.

Mr Lynch said: "The response to our appeal has been magnificent.

"And since we launched our appeal we've had a lot of contact from other organisations - one in Canada, and the Ukrainian World Congress.

"What we're looking to do now is to co-ordinate with each other to provide a more effective response and ensure we are not doubling up."

Mr Lynch said: "I have a lot of friends and colleagues in Ukraine. They are fighting for their freedom and their democracy.

"We are happy to do anything we can to help."

The appeal comes as attempts are being made to set up escape corridors for civilians caught in towns currently under siege by Russian forces, including Sumy, Mariupol, Izyum near Kharkiv and several towns around the capital Kyiv.

Authorities monitoring the conflict say the Russians seem to have switched tactics from ground advances, to shelling Ukrainian cities, in this the 15th day of the war.

You can support the fundraising campaign, by visting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bodyarmour

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