Ukrainian refugee in Sunderland able to continue his passion for fishing, thanks kindness of others

A Ukrainian refugee has been able to continue his passion for fishing thanks to the kindness of people in Sunderland.

Valentyn Yatskiv, known as Val, arrived in Sunderland from Lviv in western Ukraine in June 2022, along with parents and two younger siblings, fleeing the horrors of the Russian invasion.

Despite not speaking much English, the 17-year-old got a job at Washington-based firm End Clothing, and was in his spare time he was keen to continue his passion for fishing.

Hide Ad

However, he had been forced to leave his equipment along with most of his belongings in Ukraine.


After asking his colleague David Lee, 59, from Roker, for help in finding equipment, David reached out to the local community via Facebook where he was blown away by the positive response of people offering to help Val out.

Those offering help included Rutherford's Angling in Roker, who offered to kit out Val free of charge so he could get back to doing something which he loved.

Hide Ad
Read More
Sunderland Minster service to honour and remember life of Queen Elizabeth II

Owner Andy Rutherford, 58, from Roker, said: “We saw David’s post on a local community Facebook group and thought it would be great to help Val out.

Hide Ad
Val with a fish he caught on Roker seafront

!We put the photo of him on our own Facebook page so local people fishing in the area can help him out and give him a hand if they see him out and about. We’ve done what we can for him and we hope he continues his passion for fishing in the North East.”

Hide Ad

The shop was able to give Val a number of fishing rods, equipment, tackle and a hoodie to keep him warm when fishing.

David, who posted the plea on Facebook, was shocked by the response it got. He said: “I’m not a fishing person at all but Val asked me if I knew anywhere he could get some equipment as he had a big passion for it. I posted it on a local community page asking if someone could help him out and it went completely viral. Rutherford’s saw it and asked me to bring him in so they could sort him out. I never expected to get such a positive reaction from the community. It’s great to see.”

Hide Ad

Val was extremely thankful for the equipment from Rutherford’s and is looking forward to getting out on the seafront.

Valentyn Yatskiv, 17 (right) with owner of Rutherford's Angling, Andy Rutherford
Hide Ad
Val with colleague David Lee, who posted the plea for fishing equipment on Facebook