Simon Pegg tells Chris Evans about how donations from the UK public are helping Ukrainian refugees

Virgin Radio

3 Mar 2023, 11:29

Chris Evans and Simon Pegg at Virgin Radio.

Actor Simon Pegg joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about how the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) are continuing to help Ukrainian refugees living in Romania.

The Oxfam ambassador has recently returned from Bucharest in Romania where he witnessed first-hand some of the projects supported by donations from the British public, and how this is helping Ukrainian refugees in the country. He told Chris: “Oxfam is one of the charities that works with the DEC along with 14 others. And I went over to Romania, just to see how the money we raised here in the UK is being put to use.”

Over a year on from the start of the conflict in Ukraine, millions have fled their homes in search of safety in other parts of Ukraine and 7.8 million people have left the country. “Most refugees will want to go to a neighbouring country, they don't want to just go off anywhere, they want to stay close in case they can go back. And so Romania, Poland, Moldova, these places have all got initiatives in them by the DEC to kind of help house and assist refugees,” the Hot Fuzz star explained.

The crisis has led to a huge outpouring of generosity from the UK public, which has seen the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal reach over £400 million, “almost a million of which was from your auction” the actor said, referring to last year’s Auction For Ukraine on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, which raised £864,750. 

He continued: “I was bowled over by that information that the British public had raised £400 million, which made me very proud, at a time when everyone's a bit worried. Are we a little bit wary of strangers? And there's things going on in our society, which, you know, might suggest that, but no, we raised £400 million for Ukrainian refugees.”

Speaking about his visit to Romania and seeing “some fantastic projects” for “very vulnerable refugees, families, older people”, Simon said: “There was a woman there who was pregnant. Most of the people I met were female, actually, because a lot of the males are still in Ukraine.”

He continued: “A lot of the efforts over there are about empowering people, about helping them, not making them feel like they're being given handouts or victims, it's giving them some agency over their situation."

Recalling visiting somewhere that offers English classes and therapy sessions and workshops for teenagers, and a place where three to 14-year-olds learn Romanian, he told Chris: “It was all incredibly positive, the whole thing is underscored by a massive humanitarian tragedy, which is ongoing, but what I saw over there was incredibly uplifting.

“It just goes to show that there are these people that seem to sort of control our destiny, sometimes, these single people with these ridiculous ambitions, and yet there are millions of people who are willing to help each other and reach across to different countries, different nationalities.”

He added: “I mean, we as a species, can be so wonderful as a group.”

Regarding the situation moving forward, the Spaced star said: “I'm not sure if we're going to see an end to it that soon, and so this is a crisis that is ongoing. I think we're gonna have to keep on giving and keep on helping.

On the reason behind his visit to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch today, the actor explained: “It's really important that everyone that donated knows that it went to a good place. Sometimes when we donate to charity, we don't know where that's going, and we're never quite sure, but this was really just to say, ‘Cheers’, you know, because everyone's done so well. And obviously, it's an ongoing thing. And if it feels appropriate, you can give again, but that wasn't the point of this visit, it was just to say ‘Well done everyone, and thanks’.

Simon also chatted to Chris about the new Mission: Impossible films. Read about it here.

Find out more about how donations are helping at

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.