In February, as Russian forces aimed their attack on Ukraine, many families in the east of the country hastily packed what they could and ran.
Anastasia Shpot, her mother and her two sisters were one such family that fled Donetsk as bullets and rocket fire intensified around them.
What does this have to do with a property PR firm? Well, the CEO of Dorchester Regeneration, the parent company of one of our clients, set off to Warsaw at about this time determined to help in any way he could. Gary Silver, from Oxford, flew to Warsaw on hearing that hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians had amassed there and he wanted to support the international effort to protect them, house them and feed them.
The result of his gesture is an account of an astonishing journey for the Shpot family across bombed bridges and shot-up buildings, narrowly avoiding death on a number of occasions – all the more incredible when you realise that Viktor, the father, was compelled to stay behind in Ukraine to fight. Instead, Anastasia, 15, her sisters aged 9 and 17 and her mother Natalia weaved and hid their way from the war torn regions all the way to Warsaw where they were met by Gary who then helped to find them and many others food and shelter.
The happy ending is that Gary has now brought Anastasia and her family to live at his development of new homes at Heyford Park, Oxford.
We were asked to document this story and to gain journalist interest in order to highlight the plight of the Ukraine people.
In just a few days we had secured over 330 pieces of national, regional and local press coverage including BBC News (TV), the Daily Mail, the Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and multiple syndicated outlets via the Press Association. We helped Anastasia with media training too to help her with the numerous interviews that she has now carried out on behalf of her family and as the only member that speaks english. She is one very impressive individual.
You can see the BBC TV coverage here
“The press exposure we have gained from sharing Anastasia’s story has been far beyond our expectations. ProperPR has done a remarkable job working on this and we are thankful. In just a matter of days, the story has had a reach of millions. This brings us as property developers a chance to support the family and others like this long-term until it is safe for them to return to Ukraine and start rebuilding what they have lost” Gary Silver, CEO of Dorchester Regeneration Group