Andrew Bagshaw was many things – a genius-level geneticist, keen cricketer and sailor, private pilot, much-loved son, brother and uncle, as well as a hugely brave and principled idealist who risked everything to travel from Christchurch to Ukraine to work as a volunteer aid worker.
After seeing the distressing coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfold on television, Andrew knew he had to do something. He booked a ticket to Poland in April 2022 and by July he was in eastern Ukraine, evacuating citizens from dangerous frontline cities like Bakhmut and Soledar.
He moved hundreds of people to safety while gaining the respect of an international team of volunteers from Ukraine, Russia, the UK, US, Australia, Poland and Canada.
Andrew did all this with minimal resources – driving in an old red van, and making ends meet by doing freelance scientific work when he could.
On 6 January 2023, Andrew and fellow aid worker Chris Parry were on a mission in Soledar, trying to rescue an elderly woman, when they were caught in a Russian attack. They were reported missing the following day. Their deaths were confirmed two weeks later.
In The Quiet Hero, with the help of Andrew’s family, colleagues and other workers on the ground in Ukraine, award-winning journalist Philip Matthews reveals for the first time Andrew’s remarkable work in Ukraine, and celebrates the modest, compassionate and, above all, determined man that he was.
Imprint: A&U New Zealand
Publication date: 15/08/2023