Northampton military surplus store gives 40 pieces of protective kit to Ukrainian volunteers for free

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With so much already given, the ex-serviceman sole trader has asked everyone to give where they can

A military surplus shop in Northampton has been donating protective kit and fundraising for medical supplies in support of those currently defending Ukraine.

The sole trader in charge of Combat Cellar, found in St James' Road, Northampton, is himself ex-service. Leaving the British Army in 1991 as a Lance Corporal with the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

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Phil Smith said that people should lend whatever support they can to the country that is currently under siege.

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"It's a combination of British volunteers and Ukrainians. Some are ex-British service with medical backgrounds, while others have no military background at all, just medical, and they are still going over there.

"We're trying to fund a field hospital that they can take over there with them. So that includes a medical tent and consumables like bandages that people might not need right now. We're trying to get hold of any of that stuff that we can.

"If people are going over to Ukraine, then we're an ideal stop for them just to get a bit of kit. So far everything I have given has been a donation. But as a business, that's quite difficult to sustain. Fortunately, others are giving me protective kit right now and I am able to pass that on."

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Even though the UK is physically far removed from the bloodshed, the sole trader stressed that plenty of people here have been, and will be, affected.

With reports of Ukrainian troops "running out" of things like bandages in places, the ex-serviceman argued that every bit of help could make a difference and help those over there make it out alive.

Phil added: "The bigger picture is when all of a sudden, your local UPS depot loses two of their drivers because they are Ukrainian and they've gone over to offer medical support in that war. There's a guy whose manager is leaving for Ukraine in a few days, so he'd come in to sort some kit for him.

"This is only me talking. I understand why we're hesitant to send our [UK] forces into Ukraine, but we can offer support in other ways.

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"I think if people don't have spare kit handy, they might have some spare cash around. Whatever we give means these guys aren't just turning up in their shirts and jeans.

"I don't think whatever I do personally will affect the overall outcome. But what I can do is help the guys going over there be a bit more protected."