Purpleman has brought his Ukrainian fundraising marathon to an end by holding an emotional reunion with the envoy who delivered his aid to the war zone.
The street artist has spent the last six months slow motion walking along Shambles in York to raise many thousands of pounds for the people of Ukraine.
Much of those funds were delivered direct to people who desperately needed it, by a York resident who volunteered to be Purpleman’s envoy in the war zone.
The envoy, who does not want to be identified, told YorkMix of some of the ways he was able to help.
“We supported a bus transporting refugees to the UK. There were about 43 people on board with a number of animals as well, which works out £112 pounds per head.
“So £500 was able to pay for around five people to travel on that bus to the UK.
“We also supported a man who is delivering aid into hot zones. So he travels all across Ukraine, delivering this aid, and then evacuating people from really dangerous places.
“We gave £1,000 pounds to him to support fuel costs and his three vehicles. He’s amazing.”
Money was also donated to volunteers running an aid distribution warehouse and support network in Uman, between Kyiv and Odessa, helping those displaced by the war.
And almost £1,000 was handed out as cash donations to people in urgent need in Okhtyrka, Kharkiv and Lviv to purchase personal medical supplies, food, clothing and security equipment.
He said the people of Ukraine were so grateful: “A little bit of money over there goes a long way. The smiles on people’s faces show the help is just so appreciated.”
Purpleman himself said that his Ukrainian envoy embodied the “purple mindset, a way of thinking that is based on unconditional love and positive, direct action – creating a better world by changing our thoughts”.
The dangers the envoy faced were very real, from rocket attacks to artillery fire to landmines.
“He’s an absolute hero,” Purpleman said. “He’s done things that most of us cannot even dream about and he’s seen some horrors which he doesn’t want to talk about.
“I’m very proud of him. I love him so much. He’s an awesome purple dude.”
To mark the end of his fundraising stint, Purpleman and his envoy slow motion walked towards one another along Shambles, with commentary provided by the York Town Crier Ben Fry.
Then they embraced in the middle of the ancient street, to loud applause and cheers.
Six months of slow motion walking has taken its toll on Purpleman, who has suffered a hernia, foot problems, and repetitive strain injury from carrying a bucket of money.
His immediate plans are to “rest, recuperate and get some nutrition and plan the next project.”
As the York Town Crier put it: “Purpleman will return!”