Two trips, five Freelander Land Rovers, and hundreds of hours of travel time. Tom Baker reports on Operation Freelander
Gordon Jackson Hopps has an ambitious project: raising funds to procure, prepare and deliver Land Rover Freelanders to Ukraine. Entitled Operation Freelander and run in partnership with Freelander Specialists, owned by Sue Maddock and Nobert Ngwenya, it has already delivered five vehicles to the war-torn country.
“We were approached by Gordon last year,” said Sue. “He had this idea of taking Land Rover Freelanders to Ukraine after contacts of his pleaded for more small 4x4 vehicles and we were keen to get involved.”
However, this proved challenging. “Gordon had set up a JustGiving page to ask for donations, but raising the funds needed was difficult,” said Sue. The money donated only allowed them to purchase a single Freelander 1, with the remaining four vehicles, also 1s, taken from Freelander Specialists stock. “Our task was to make sure these five vehicles were prepared for the long overland journey and then also be effective on the battlefield,” said Sue. “As you can imagine, this took a lot of work. Our own Freelander 1 collection was in relatively good condition. We had been keeping them in storage for spare parts. However, they all still required a lot of work, especially as the one Freelander we had bought with the donations was in a very poor state.”