Kirkcudbright chef fearful for Ukrainian friends “fighting on the frontline” against Russian armed forces

A Kirkcudbright chef is fearful for Ukrainian friends “fighting on the frontline” against Russian armed forces.

Nick Morris spent nearly half his life in Kyiv as an English language teacher.

He is in constant contact with friends and former colleagues in Ukraine which was invaded by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s armed forces last Thursday.

Mr Morris, who has set up a fundraising page for Stewartry people looking to help, said: “They are furious.

“First it was disbelief it had happened, then it was upset and now it’s just downright anger.

“The people that are left in Ukraine will fight to the end and will throw whatever is not nailed down at whatever Russian is coming towards them.

“They will fight with a fury that is unprecedented and I think Putin has underestimated that. I think that could well be his downfall.

“He has created this myth Ukraine has a fascist government, which is absurd considering the president is Jewish.

“It’s fantastically distressing to see innocent people being murdered and the death toll is going to be huge by the time they are finished.

“On Monday morning I was in contact with old friends who are in shelters in the center of Kyiv and schools are being bombed.

“They are seeing this first hand that children are dying and it’s just awful.

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s right on their doorstep.”

Mr Morris, who is originally from Norwich, headed to Ukraine in 1995 – four years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Then aged 22, he took on a role with The London School of English and became a partner, investor and manager in the business.

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Nick is flying the flag for Ukraine.

He left in 2015 and now runs the Station House Cookery School in Kirkcudbright but is still a shareholder in the language school, which was operating branches in Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv until last week.

A fourth site in Donetsk was destroyed during a previous conflict with Russia in 2014.

Mr Morris, 49, said: “It was my home for 20 years. I was welcomed by Ukrainians, especially in the early years when they thought it was so great foreigners wanted to come to live in their country and they were so proud of their country.

“They are such welcoming and gentle people until provoked – and then they are ferocious. We saw in 2014 how they can organize themselves.

“Our schools were still active up until Wednesday night. We had a large team of English language teachers from all over the world, a lot of Ukrainian teachers, former colleagues and friends.

“I’ve got very close associates who have enlisted and are currently fighting on the frontline. I’m texting them and they are giving me reports on what is happening – a lot of the time I’m hearing it before the news. So many ex pats as well as Ukrainians are doing everything they can to help and evacuate.

“The job my business partner, Sean Harty, has done has been phenomenal and I’m very proud of him. He distributed money among the staff, got people out to the border and really looked after them.”

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Mr Morris is also showing his support by sending money to Ukraine – and is asking other people to do the same.

He added: “There is a growing humanitarian crisis with refugees on the border in great need of supplies.

“My friend and colleague of 21 years, Irina Rusanova, who I trust implicitly, is working close to the Polish/Ukrainian border supplying that need. She needs money to be able to purchase medicine, food, water and clothing.

“I am able to get donations to her within 24 hours. The only two people involved in the chain are myself and Irina.

“It’s not like the big charities where money will go for staffing or wages, it is all going directly to the war effort.”

To find out more details about how to donate, visit

Mr Morris has also teamed up with Massive Outpouring of Love (MOOL) and Opir for the school to act as a collection point for items such as clothes, blankets and medicines to be taken out to Ukraine later this month.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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