‘Agonising’ Countryfile’s Tom Heap emotional as Ukrainian farm worker walks away in tears
Countryfile: Tom emotional as he speaks to Ukrainian refugee
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During Sunday night’s Countryfile, BBC hosts Matt Baker and Margherita Taylor took viewers to New Forest in Hampshire, where they discovered how the local community has come together to help Ukrainian refugees. Margherita met a mother and daughter who have fled the war and found sanctuary in the Hampshire countryside. While Matt lent a hand with a group of volunteers collecting and packing Humanitarian Aid to send to Ukraine.
Adam Henson also discovered the impact of the war on Ukrainian agriculture, with Tom Heap spending time with Ukrainian farm workers.
However, Tom seemed to get choked up when the fruit picker he was chatting to, broke down in tears.
When speaking about homegrown berries, the presenter told viewers: “In recent years, 10s of 1000s of seasonal workers have been coming to the UK on temporary visas to grow, pick and pack them.
“Foreign workers are vital for the berry industry. Nearly 8,000 tonnes of berries rotted in 2021 because of a shortage of pickers.
“And it’s Ukrainians who have historically made up the bulk of the workforce.”
Speaking to one of the workers responsible for irrigation, Tom asked him what job he did in Ukraine.
“I was working in a call centre,” he explained. “I was selling credit cards and the internet.”
Despite being forced to move to the UK, the farm worker explained he loved being in the open air.
However, the segment, soon took a turn when he broke down in tears when talking about his family in Ukraine.
“I didn’t have any choice but to come here,” he said emotionally before apologising: “Sorry!”
Tom went on to explain that the Ukrainian refugee and his wife had to flee their home because it was one of the first areas to be attacked.
“My wife starts shaking, I don’t know how to make her calm down,” he recalled.
“I have some medical problems with blood pressure and I cannot take part in the war.”
Tom went on to explain to viewers: “Like all Ukrainians, their seasonal grants have been extended until the end of the year by the Home Office and they can apply for a new visa under the Ukrainian extension scheme, meaning they can stay here for up to three years.”
“This was our decision to come here and to leave my parents,” the farm worker said.
“Every day the situation can change, but this war will not stop tomorrow and I must support them from here.”
“I hope that nobody in the world will know what I feel [and that] they will never feel the same pain like I feel now,” he said breaking down in tears.
“Even though you’re safer, the pain is still there,” Tom replied.
Tom looked on the brink of tears as the refugee said he wakes up every day waiting to hear that his parents are alive and well.
“It’s agonising,” Tom said as the worker walked away. He went on to praise: “He’s so brave.”
Countryfile airs on Sunday at 7pm on BBC one.
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