A FORMER Bolton soldier is once again preparing to enter a war zone – but this time to deliver vital humanitarian aid.

Ryan Yates, from Bromley Cross, has previously served in Afghanistan, having been in the forces since the age of just 16.

Now 33, the war hero is on a mission to take medical supplies to Ukraine.

He has already completed runs to the war torn country - but needs the help of the people of his hometown to continue to help.

Ryan, who served with 4/73 Special Operations Battery, said: “I left the military with post traumatic stress disorder and realised there was no AA or CA for veterans, so I wanted to set something up.

“It was daunting because it was different to my experience this year. When you serve in the military, you’re on the front line and not seeing the civilians the way we are seeing 15,000 people reach the checkpoints now.

The Bolton News: Ryan Yates, William Watkins, Glynn Bellman and Geoff Hollow.Ryan Yates, William Watkins, Glynn Bellman and Geoff Hollow.

“It was hard because I am used to being on the ground, so I felt like my hands were tied.

“I also feel good going there and helping them, because it’s what I’ve done in the military and giving me a purpose.”

Ryan, along with his community group, Veterans Army, has been travelling from Bolton to Ukraine with special permission to deliver sought after medical supplies including first aid to frontline soldiers.

But to continue their work, Ryan needs a 4x4 to drive into Ukraine with some of the smaller supplies as no hired vehicles are allowed into Ukraine.

The Bolton News: Ryan YatesRyan Yates

Currently, the team are driving several different vehicles in Poland or Slovakia from where they then need to arrange travel to get into the country.

Ryan said: “Ideally we need a truck or a 4x4 because at the moment, the logistics are diabolical.

“But this is just a drop in the ocean, because we need more funding to carry on and we need a vehicle to get in.”

The group take things like PPE, surgical gear, first aid kits and even plasters and bandages.

In the first run, the Veterans Army had two lorries and six vans taking them from England and they established a direct supply line for the military hospitals.

The group was set up to help war veterans to adjust to life after the army. Ryan said: “Now that we’re no longer in the military, we all wish we could help because it’s been our job.”

On March 8, the group sent humanitarian supplies and on March 13, they sent hospital supplies, taking them five days due to the transport issue.

The Bolton News: Ryan Yates on the frontlineRyan Yates on the frontline

Ryan will head back out to Ukraine on Thursday.

To see more and help out, visit the Facebook page The Veterans Army.