A GROUP of young people with special needs have raised more than £6,000 from a fundraising walk for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The group of 40 from the Link2 Club, based at Hatch Warren Community Centre, wanted to do something to support those from Ukraine and decided to walk the five miles from their club to Festival Place.

Read more: Refugee from Ukraine speaks of horrors of war after arriving in Basingstoke

Dilys Buchan, who set up the club 12 years ago, said: “Whilst five miles does not sound that much it is to some of them as they also have physical disabilities and find it hard to walk.”

She said they organised the charity challenge after some of the members of the club approached her, explaining: “When the war started in Ukraine my members came to me and were quite distressed about it and couldn’t sleep. I said let’s do a walk because it’s a challenge.”

She added: “They were particularly perturbed by those making the journey across the border and the walk was our way of showing solidarity with them.”

With help from Lawrence Booker who is a member of the club, the pair mapped out a route for the group, who were supported with refreshments from Tesco.

Festival Place announced the young people's arrival in the shopping centre, which Dilys described as an “amazing moment”.

She added: “There was a man who had just got out from Ukraine there who thanked them for what they were doing and he was in tears.”

The group raised £6,250 in total which has been donated to UNICEF Ukraine to support families affected by the war.

Dilys said: “It was amazing to see our young people, who have disabilities, do the walk and cope with it. Some have probably never walked more than a mile. The feeling of euphoria when they achieved it made them feel they had done something of value.”

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