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Scots punk musician who rescued 25 Ukrainians handed beloved Peppa Pig toy from little girl as ‘thank you’

A SCOTS punk musician who rescued several families from Ukraine was given a Peppa Pig toy as a ‘thank you’ from one of the little girls he helped.

Dominic Harris and fellow musician Brian Tipa, priest Markus Dünzkofer and Polish translator Ania Grajek transported 25 Ukrainians to Berlin last week.

The 55-year-old dad-of-two and his team flew from his hometown of Edinburgh to Berlin where they hired minibuses and drove to the war-torn country to help families seeking refuge.

Dominic Harris, 55
Dominic Harris, 55, with the Peppa Pig toy that was given to him by the Ukrainian child. C. Blue Sky Photography

The group then drove for two days to Germany’s capital where they set the families up with places to stay.

Dominic initially planned to take them back to the UK, however difficulty obtaining visas led him to take them back to Berlin instead.

A Ukrainian girl, around five-years-old, handed Dominic her beloved George figurine from Peppa Pig and said ‘thank you’ as she lay across two seats exhausted in the minibus.

Markus Dünzkofer, Brian Tipa, Dominic Harris and Ania Grajek
Markus Dünzkofer, Brian Tipa, Dominic Harris and Ania Grajek at Brandenburg Airport with the mini buses they hired. C. Dominic Harris

Speaking today, Dominic, who works as a tour guide, said: “Her Grandpa (Sergei) was carrying her in his arms, she was exhausted.

“It nearly broke my heart.

“We had to walk half a mile with Sergei, who has a bad leg.

“A kid gave me her little Peppa Pig.

“It was really moving.

“I was nearly reduced to a blubbering wreck.

“She lay on the two seats and said ‘thank you’ in Russian.

“There were moments along the way when I thought ‘what am I doing?’

Sergei and his grandaughter.
Sergei and his grandaughter. C. Dominic Harris

“The fact that we travelled from Edinburgh really affected people.

“People coming over the border didn’t realise they were people like us waiting to help them, they were so moved.

“They didn’t eat anything, they were so traumatised.

“They said yes to coffee at a service station, they bought Markus a burger to say thanks.”

Dominic is now planning on raising money so he can buy items for civilians who have chosen to stay and help with the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

He has been thinking about ways to raise money with the help of the little toy he was given from the grateful little girl he rescued.

Dominic added: “I thought about auctioning it.

“A lot of the depots in Poland are full.

Edinburgh priest Markus Dünzkofer and Polish translator Ania Grajek holding a sign that says "Berlin" in Ukrainian
Edinburgh priest Markus Dünzkofer and Polish translator Ania Grajek holding a sign that says “Berlin” in Ukrainian. C. Dominic Harris

“My idea is to have direct action.

“I think that bullet proof vests are something we will get behind.

“We have a contact, an ex General in the Ukrainian army.

“They are able to procure them while the supply is really short.

“We could turn this 20 cent toy into bullet proof vests to save some lives.”

Speaking today, priest Markus Dünzkofer said: “I had two families in my car, who all had someone waiting for them in Berlin.

“They were picked up right at the border and dropped off right at the door step of relatives.

“No waiting in line to be transported to a regional refugee centre.

“No waiting in line to be transported from the regional refugee centre to an overcrowded train station.

“No waiting in line and possibly sleeping rough for a few nights to catch an overcrowded train – possibly with changes and more waiting and sleeping rough.

“The Poles do what they can, and that is a lot, but there are limits to the number of people that can be ferried by a national rail system from a few border crossings to places all over Europe.

“Also, just consider that there are still people living who have memories of Ukrainians being herded onto trains to uncertain and mostly terminal destinations.

“One of the abiding memories of my trip will be that of a woman, who crossed a small border crossing outside the Polish town of Kro?cienko looking exhausted, gaunt, and lost.

“She just stood there with her tiny suitcase.

Ania with Polish police in Kroscienko filling the vehicles to leave for Berlin
Ania with Polish police in Kroscienko filling the vehicles to leave for Berlin. C. Dominic Harris

“And even though everything around her – from the Polish volunteers to the German Maltesers camping out there – was geared up to help her, she looked out of place.

“Frozen in time, all alone.

“There was no sign of relief on her face.

“It was a blank face.

“Still, it was and remained utter yet raw humanity.

“I will never know her name, but she is somebody who is loved and somebody who loves others in return.

“She is special and precious, I cried in the bus as we left that border crossing.”

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