A retired firefighter will begin a 4,000-mile round-trip to Ukraine this weekend as he prepares to transport 15 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

Ian Parkes, who is 58 and lives in Wivenhoe, came across a post on Facebook from Ruslan Postupalenko, who was appealing for lorry drivers to make the trip across Europe.

Having held a truck driver’s licence since 1988, Ian Parkes soon messaged Mr Postupalenko, saying he was prepared to help out and make the trip – which is 2,000 miles there and 2,000 miles back.

He said: “I’m one of those people – I do spur-of-the-moment things all the time.

“What’s going on over there is out of order, and if there’s something I can do, then, it suits me.

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“I hate sitting about, especially when there’s something like this going on, and I would like to think others would do the same for us if we were in the same situation – that’s how I look at it.”

The trip will likely take a week, though he and Oleksandr Postupalenko, who is planning to drive a second truck, intend to go into safe zones in Ukraine.

“Whatever it takes and whatever they need, we’ll do it,” Mr Parkes added.