Can you help St Albans supply teacher's heroic Polish dad?

Bazyli with some of the Ukrainian refugees he has homed.

Bazyli with some of the Ukrainian refugees he has homed. - Credit: Maria Dobinson

A St Albans teaching assistant has launched a fundraising campaign to support the 95-year-old Polish father of a supply teacher - who has taken in three Ukrainian women and their children.

Linda Wells works at St Alban and St Stephen Catholic School, currently teaching six to seven year olds, where they have a supply teacher called Maria Dobinson who is originally from Poland.

Linda said: "Last week she showed me a picture on her phone and explained it was her 95-year-old father Bazyli, who lives in Auschwitz [Oswiecim]. At 2am in the morning, he opened his doors to three Ukrainian women and their children and is currently looking after them."

A Polish company owner drove his minivan through the night to Lviv to collect Sofia and her seven-year-old twins Melania and Emilia, her mother Genia, and her friend Natalia with her children Victoria, 10, and three-year-old Nazar.

They frantically gathered a few items together and fled in the middle of the night, spending 10 long hours at the border before arriving in Oswiecim at 2am.

Linda explained: "These ladies and their children are now staying on the top floor of Bazyli’s home, where Maria grew up. Since then, more Ukrainians have arrived and are staying on the floor below them. They are all being looked after by Bazyli, his neighbours and friends.

"When I saw the children in the photo it put faces to the horrendous war in Ukraine and made me think not only of my own daughter who is 10, but the children in my class. We really are only as lucky as the place we live and it could be any one of us needing help.

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"There are so many fundraisers and so many people doing amazing things to help the people fleeing these atrocities, I thought if I could help in any small way I would. I thought a fundraiser to help Bazyli might be a good idea to directly provide him with funds via Maria to help with the cost of looking after them."

Plucky Bazyli will be 96 next month, sharing his birthday with The Queen. To support the campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-ukrainian-mothers-and-their-children