Harborough animal lovers donate a massive amount of vital aid for the pets of refugees fleeing Ukraine

People turned up from throughout the district to hand over hundreds of items at a last-minute stall quickly set up at Harborough Market in Market Harborough on Saturday

People turned up from throughout the district to hand over hundreds of items at a last-minute stall quickly set up at Harborough Market in Market Harborough on Saturday.
People turned up from throughout the district to hand over hundreds of items at a last-minute stall quickly set up at Harborough Market in Market Harborough on Saturday.

Animal lovers across Harborough have rallied round brilliantly to donate a massive amount of vital aid for the pets of refugees fleeing war-devastated Ukraine.

People turned up from throughout the district to hand over hundreds of items at a last-minute stall quickly set up at Harborough Market in Market Harborough on Saturday.

The special effort was launched by Julia Marabella, 58, after she’s been left “heartbroken” by the terrible plight of both the people and the animals of devastated Ukraine.

People turned up from throughout the district to hand over hundreds of items at a last-minute stall quickly set up at Harborough Market in Market Harborough on Saturday.

“The response on Saturday was absolutely staggering.

“It was just unbelievable.

“I got to the market to start up at 9am – and other stallholders had already dropped off donations,” said Julia, of Market Harborough.

“Everybody was just so brilliant.

“Queues of well-wishers clutching donation after donation filed in all day till I finally wound it up at about 4.

“They brought in dog food and cat food, crates for cats, dog leads, collars, hamster food, rabbit food and even specialist medical supplies as well as so much else.

“I was just blown away by people’s generosity, thoughtfulness and kind-heartedness.

“And everyone thanked me so much for what I’m doing.

“It was all very emotional,” said Julia, who has two dogs, Lily and Teddy, and a rescue kitten.

“I ended up in floods of tears time and again, it was that touching.

“The market manager said he’d have to go and get a mop and bucket I was crying that much!

“One little girl told me she’d spent all her pocket money bless her on toys for cats and dogs.

“She said that they have to play as well even in the middle of this horrible Russian war.

“It took me ages to compose myself afterwards, it was just so heartrending.

“We’ve all seen the harrowing pictures on TV and in the papers of the nightmare humanitarian crisis hitting Ukraine after the horrific Russian invasion,” said Julia.

“That could be us, me and you, and our beloved pets caught up in that hellish warzone.

“And those people love their pets just as much as we do – they are taking them with them, they are not leaving them behind.

“So I just knew that I had to act, I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.

“I’d like to say a huge thank-you to every single person who dropped off a donation – as well as putting money into my charity box as well.

“You were all fantastic – and I cannot salute you enough.

“It was genuinely overwhelming all day long.

“Our amazing community in Market Harborough and the surrounding area really did come together to get behind me and the pets of Ukraine.”

Her mini-mountain of aid will now be driven 1,500 miles across eastern Europe to deepest Poland next week by Kibworth Easy Riders cycling club.

Mark Evans and Keith Low are set to ferry a vanload of critical supplies to Poland next week to help support thousands of refugees fleeing their shattered homeland.

“I want to thank them as well – they truly are going the extra mile to help,” added Julia.

You can read the stirring story we have written about Kibworth Easy Riders’ incredible Ukraine mercy mission here: https://www.harboroughmail.co.uk/news/people/harborough-district-cyclists-launch-new-bid-to-collect-and-take-critical-aid-to-people-fleeing-ukraine-3608348