David & Beam For Website


In a remarkable display of solidarity and commitment, David Hall (P 59-64) James Blackhall (SH 78-83) recently joined the “Driving Ukraine” Aid Convoy, driving across Europe to deliver essential supplies to war-torn Ukraine. The convoy, which included 4×4 vehicles packed to the gunwales, started their  journey from London, making its way through the Netherlands, Germany and  Poland entering Ukraine with a clear mission to aid those most affected by the ongoing conflict.

Upon arrival in Odesa, the team was met by Ukrainian hosts and two additional vehicles were added to their ranks. Meanwhile, two Old Sedberghians, both schooled by a contemporary of David and master of James in the finer arts, Nigel Horsfall! David commented “we showed inherent culture and spirit of ‘the show goes on’, by going to the Opera House in Odesa, for the ballet ‘La Bayadere’, when missiles were whizzing around us – while our minor public school (Eton and Milton Abbey) number 2 team, were somewhat reticent and did not seem to comprehend the ethos of Dura Virum Nutrix !”

Over the course of a weekend, the vehicles were painted in camouflage, preparing them for their crucial roles. The convoy then proceeded to Dnipro where they delivered vital medical aid including wheel chairs, and medical supplies. The  journey continued to the front lines where they supplied the 79th Mechanised Brigade with not only the much-needed sterile dressings and tourniquets, but also dog food for the service animals and strays affected by the conflict.

Reflecting on the mission, James Blackhall expressed his deep sense of honour and accomplishment: “last month I was very proud to be asked by an old friend and Powellian David Hall, asking if I was available to drive a 4×4 vehicle as part of the ‘Driving Ukraine’  humanitarian aid convoy. I jumped at the chance and committed to the endeavour. I was honoured and grateful to have been asked to join such a worthy cause and delighted that I was able to help, and witness first-hand the Ukrainian spirit defending our freedom in Europe.”

David Hall commented that the Ukrainians’ should be made  honorary Sedberghians, “whilst the parallels of Sedbergh life are not to be compared with the ravages of war, the Ukrainian values, ability to withstand the strains and struggles are all something we can understand” he said. David is currently hosting a young Ukrainian family and it was especially poignant to meet up with the families father who sadly cannot leave the country until the conflict is over.

So far, the “Driving Ukraine” initiative has been a beacon of hope, delivering over 100 vehicles and raising more than £128,000. James and David are eager to extend the invitation to others who might wish to contribute. If anyone would like to help Driving Ukraine any donations via the www.drivingukraine.org website would be appreciated.