Children in Ryedale are helping to spread love and support to the people of Ukraine with special messages included in special boxes of aid.

Youngsters at Thornton-le-Dale Primary School have started to box up items, with the hope other schools and organisations will join the project.

The scheme was initiated by David Thomas, who lives in the village, and he was involved in a similar scheme during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s.

He said: “The instant aid was tried and tested during the Bosnia crisis and is extremely affective.

“Shoeboxes are filled with items that are instantly useful such as scarves, toothbrushes, cotton wool, packet soup and non-perishable treats.

“They can be fastened with an elastic band and are easy to transport and distribute.”

The plan is for volunteers to transport the items to Poland in three caravans, one of which has been donated by Baldersons in Thornton-le-Dale, which will be left there for use by those supporting the refugees.

David said: “It is difficult to get things there by conventional transportation which may be confiscated.

“However, by using caravans there are less restrictions and they can be left in Ukraine for use by the support agencies or the refugees themselves.”

David said he had translated a number of messages for the children to include in the boxes including ‘You are in our thoughts’, ‘Love from an English family’ and ‘We send our love and hope for you and your country.’

A demonstration day will be held in Thornton-le-Dale on Saturday (March 19) between 10am and 4pm, where people can find out more about the instant aid shoeboxes and how they can help.