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Group to cycle the shape of Ukraine in challenge

A group of nine friends is set to cycle 62 miles on Sunday to raise funds for Ukraine.

Anglo-Ukrainian Maks Oberemokhas, 22, and a group of schoolfriends will undertake a route that traces the shape of Ukraine just after the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.

Last March, the group raised £22,000 for Ukraine with a half-marathon from Trowbridge to Bath.

Mr Oberemokhas said: "Every donation means so much to us."

He explained how much of his family are from the Ukrainian city Sumy, which is just a few miles from the Russian border.

After Russia invaded last February, the family endured a "terrifying few months" before his grandmother and some other loved ones were able to flee and find sponsorship in the UK.

They are now living close to his family home in Trowbridge.

"I've still got family there who can't leave," he said.

"They are being terrorised by artillery rounds and rockets that are randomly being fired over their village. I recently spoke to one of my friends and his mental health is really suffering from the constant shelling.

"I'm so relieved to have some of my family here though, many of them I hadn't seen for three and a half years. We've been having lots of big dinners - my grandma won't stop cooking for us all."

The group's route will begin in Trowbridge, before heading in a loop that passes Frome, Warminster and Westbury.

They expect the ride to take eight hours, after which they will sit down to a meal of plov, an Uzbekistani dish of pork and rice.

Jake Nickerson, who is studying mechanical engineering, is one of three University of Bristol students taking on the challenge.

He said: "Most of us aren't cyclists so it could be a tough day on Sunday. But it's worth it to help the many Ukrainians who are suffering right now.

"We'll be stopping every 25km (15 miles) so people can come and support us if they want."

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