2012

When the convoy of 6 fire engines drove to Serbia in October 2012, the Blazing to Serbia team had loaded two of the trucks with clothes for the Red Cross at Sremska Mitrovica. This donation was very well received and was distributed to needy families around the area.

2013

As a result of the success of this initiative, the Red Cross asked if we were able make a similar donation in 2013. Naturally the team was happy to do this, so started the appeal for help via Facebook. It was apparent early on that we were going to have too many clothes to transport by aeroplane and were going to need to transport them by road. As we already had ladders and other equipment to go to Serbia, we decided that this is what we would do. It was then suggested that we should also provide Christmas gifts for needy Serbian children. A second appeal for shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts was then put out and the response was fantastic. The team then spent weeks collecting the donations, sorting, packing and completing the Custom’s documentation.

Milsped, the Serbian transport company collected 12 pallets of goods from Caerphilly Fire Station on 23rd December. The Red Cross received over 800Kg of clothes and 268 filled shoe boxes, which they distributed to children throughout Srmska Mitrovica. This was definitely the most ambitious project that Blazing to Serbia has been involved with, purely down to the amount of time that it took to get everything sorted.

2014

January

The Blazing to Serbia team flew into Belgrade airport in mid January and whilst in Serbia visited Red Cross Units in Novi Sad and Sremska Mitrovica. The team were given a fabulous welcome and a great insight into the role of the Red Cross and the social programmes that they are involved with. During our time with the Red Cross, we were informed that there was a desperate need for children’s shoes and we pledged to help.

July

The third Blazing to Serbia convoy left Caerphilly Castle in Wales and drove across Europe to Serbia. The trucks were laden with various Fire Service equipment, animal food and animal welfare products, as well as over 100 brand new pairs of children’s shoes, which were donated to the Red Cross at Sremska Mitrovica and to an organisation which supports Serbian families in the North of Kosovo.

August

Two ladies from Serbia Red Cross and a translator from the Mayor’s Office in Sremska Mitrovica visited Wales to meet up with the Red Cross in Wales and it is hoped that this will be developed over time. Whilst in Wales these ladies also had meetings with the Chair of the Fire & Rescue Authority and the Mayor of Caerphilly and brought greetings from the Mayor of Sremska Mitrovica and a formal invitation to visit Serbia.

Maria, who had helped us out with the translating during the July drive to Serbia, also came to Wales at this time to again help us with the translating and to meet up with her new found friends.

November

Seventeen of the Blazing to Serbia team made a short visit to Serbia, taking with them over 400Kg of children’s gifts and hygiene products, like soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Gift bags donated by Scandanavia Design, were filled by the team and distributed to needy families and children. The Serbia Red Cross were instrumental in co-ordinating our activities over a three day period and we are extremely grateful to them and to our Serbian Firefighter friends for the transportation and allowing us to do this. This is the most rewarding thing that Blazing to Serbia has been involved with.

Blazing to Serbia is now corresponding with the Red Cross in Wales and Scotland and hope to develop this relationship with Serbia Red Cross.

2015

April

During our first visit of the year, the Red Cross at Sremska Mitrovica were again at the fore of our plans, as they arranged for us to visit the homes of two needy families. We then gave a commitment to refurbish both of their homes, by paying for new doors and windows, indoor toilets and shower rooms, together with the necessary plumbing to new cess pits, which were to be created in their gardens.

July

Our second visit of the year was in July, when we visited the Red Cross Unit at Sremska Mitrovica and then went to see the refurbished homes of the two needy families that we met in April. This is one of the most rewarding things that Blazing to Serbia has done, as it will change the lives of those two families forever.

November

Following the delivery of a single fire engine in November, the team of 5 Blazing to Serbia boys went with the Red Cross to the Serbia – Croatia border to see the refugee problem for themselves. This was an upsetting experience for all concerned, but certainly made the team aware of the great work that Serbia Red Cross and other agencies are doing every day.

December

This is the third year that Blazing to Serbia has worked with Serbia Red Cross to provide Christmas gifts for needy children. This year, the ladies at Sremska Mitrovica Red Cross put on a Christmas party, complete with a Father Christmas, for 60 children who had various special needs. Blazing to Serbia was delighted to be able to help with this, so happily provided the necessary gift bags. This was a really rewarding activity and is certainly something that we would like to be involved wit again in the future.

2016

March

Only 3 members of Blazing to Serbia visited in March, so we did not tell the Red Cross that we were coming. This provided an opportunity for the team to make a surprise visit to the unit at Sremska Mitrovica. However, as this visit was unannounced, we only managed to surprise one of the ladies and had to wait until the evening to make the surprise complete.

The following day we had a meeting at the Sremska Mitrovica Unit and discussed our plans for the rest of the year talked about how we could assist and develop our co-operation and support.

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