Leeds & West Yorkshire

Berlin attack: Fundraising trucker thanked by Poland

Dave Duncan being honoured at the Polish Embassy Image copyright Polish Embassy UK
Image caption Dave Duncan, centre, was honoured at the Polish Embassy in London

A trucker who raised nearly £200,000 for relatives of the driver killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack has been thanked by the Polish ambassador at a ceremony in London.

Dave Duncan, of Otley, West Yorkshire, set up a crowdfunding campaign to help Lukasz Urban's relatives.

Mr Urban was found dead after his lorry was crashed into the Breitscheidplatz market in December, killing 12 people.

Mr Duncan said he felt compelled to help his "fellow trucker".

Attacker Anis Amri left at least 48 injured when he ploughed into crowds at the German market.

Mr Urban, a Polish national, had been stabbed and shot.

'Left devastated'

The driver had arrived in Berlin ahead of schedule to deliver steel beams and was asked to return the next day to unload his trailer.

Mr Duncan said: "If they had unloaded their freight none of this would have happened and Lukasz would have been able to go home and spend Christmas with his family."

He said it was that thought that made him want to do something to help "the innocent people left devastated by this".

"It could have been any one of us there that day," he added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Lukasz Urban, pictured on CCTV, was found dead in the lorry's passenger seat with gunshot and stab wounds

Since setting up the online fund, Mr Duncan has met Mr Urban's widow and son.

He said: "They were extremely grateful and shocked by the support, and that a stranger would help them this way when nobody else would."

Mr Urban's family invited Mr Duncan to attend the driver's funeral in Banie, near the Polish border with Germany.

He said it was "a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful place", adding: "Although I felt detached by the language barriers, it was very moving, especially the amount of people who came to pay their respects."

'Selfless initiative'

The Polish ambassador, Arkady Rzegocki, honoured Mr Duncan on Monday for his actions.

He said the lorry driver's "gesture and presence at the funeral of the late Mr Urban, have been greatly appreciated in Poland".

Mr Duncan added: "The Polish truckers' own tributes are what being a truck driver is all about.

"We have to watch out for one another, as in most cases nobody else does."

Mr Rzegocki said he wanted to "personally thank Mr Duncan for his selfless initiative".

"His compassion moved many both in the UK and back in Poland. It is an inspiring example of British-Polish solidarity which never fails in times of crisis," he added.

The ceremony took place in London at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.

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