Driver turned detective tracks down missing cuddly toy for Ukrainian refugee

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Thames Travel driver Steve Brook. THAMES TRAVEL

An eight-year-old Ukrainian refugee has been reunited with the only toy she brought to the UK after misplacing it on a bus – thanks to a kind-hearted bus driver turned detective. Passenger Sofiia arrived in Oxfordshire with her mother, Yana, carrying one rucksack which contained only essential items and one very special handmade toy gnome. The gnome was the only toy she had space to take with her, and it accompanied her during the 1,500-mile journey from her family home in Ukraine.

The family was welcomed to Oxford by a host family and settled as best they could, but Sofiia later misplaced the gnome when alighting from a Thames Travel service, prompting a public appeal via social media to help track down her precious lost possession. Eagle-eyed driver Steve Brook spotted the appeal on social media and within 24 hours located the gnome and returned it to Didcot resident Clare Towlerton, who has been supporting the family since they arrived in Oxfordshire in June last year.


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