City fundraiser raises thousands of pounds for Ukraine's animals of war

Two local best friends are helping raise thousands of pounds for supplies to animals affected by the war.

Two local best friends are helping raise thousands of pounds for supplies to animals affected by the war. - Credit: Submitted

A charity rescue has raised thousands of pounds to deliver aid to animals affected by the Russia Ukraine war.

Melissa Hewitt, who lives in Sprowston, has been sending donations over to Romanian native Ioana Marascu, the founder of rescue organisation Every Life Counts, since the war began.

Melissa struck up a friendship with Maria, who lives in Thorpe Marriot, in 2020 and their mutual love of animals - mainly dogs - introduced her to Ioana and Every Life Counts.

Melissa said: "I saw the work Ioana and her partner Bogdan were putting in and was amazed, so I got chatting to her and ended up set up my own group to help fundraise for Every Life Counts - I am in awe with the work they do."

Some more of the supplies and aid collected taken to the border for the refugees and their pets.

Some more of the supplies and aid collected taken to the border for the refugees and their pets. - Credit: Ioana Marascu

Marie added: "I help with the advertising, donate and participate in the fundraising competitions - Ioana and Bogdan are so passionate in what they do and we love being able to help any way we can."

Every Life Counts generates money through personal donations and fundraising competitions for people to enter.

Melissa continued: "We offer prizes such as shopping vouchers, watches and even a stay at a private lodge for the week."

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Marie added: "It's great that any money raised by the community here, goes straight to the rescue."

Ioana Marascu, right, tending to a refugee's two dogs.

Ioana Marascu, right, tending to a refugee's two dogs. - Credit: Ioana Marascu

Ioana travelled to Siret - the border of Ukraine - when the refugees began to flee the country, with aid they bought using the fundraising money.

She said: "When this War started we went out with two vans filled with supplies.

A refugee fleeing the war with their pet dog,

A refugee fleeing the war with their pet dog, - Credit: Ioana Marascu

"Everyone was scared - there were people arriving with their pets under their jackets - frightened parents with their children, absolutely frozen.

"After handing out the supplies people needed I went into the van and cried.

Marie Russell, left, and Melissa Hewitt, right, have been working with Every Life Counts.

Marie Russell, left, and Melissa Hewitt, right, have been working with Every Life Counts. - Credit: Archant

"Everything we do we do comes from the fundraisers hosted by our friends like Melissa and Marie."

So far, the city's fundraising efforts have amassed £2,037 in total and Melissa is continuing to hold more competitions each day via the organisation's Facebook group 'Supporting Every Life Counts Rescue RO'.