‘Heroic’ classic car salesman spending £5,000 a day housing fleeing Ukrainian families

  • Classic car dealer travels to Poland-Ukraine border to house fleeing families
  • Marcos Castillo spending £5,000 a day putting up refugees
  • Businessman described as a ‘hero’ with a ‘big heart’ by celebrity friend Bradley Walsh

Time 8:25 am, March 23, 2022

A classic car salesman has been described as a hero after it was revealed he is spending £5,000 every day housing families fleeing war-torn Ukraine.

Marcos Castillo runs a successful classic car business based in the Algarve but has taken a break to do his bit for humanity.

At huge personal expense and risk, he has travelled to the Ukraine-Poland border where he is paying for hotel stays for refugees.

The successful dealer is currently spending £5,000 every day on the scheme and has bigger plans to find permanent homes for the families.

His story has been highlighted by friend and TV star Bradley Walsh, who he met a decade ago through their interest in cars.

Walsh, best known for hosting The Chase, said Castillo had a ‘big heart’ and gushed about what his friend has been doing.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I met Marcos about ten years ago through our interest in classic cars.

‘Marcos is the sort of guy that would take in dogs and look after them and his heart is so big.

‘A couple of weeks ago I went to his place of work and I was told that he had gone to Poland to pick up a car.

‘I rang him and he was actually on his way to the Ukraine-Poland border to help and he said he could not just sit by and watch this.

‘He said: “I’ve got a lot of money. I’m going up there to help out” and the next thing I knew he’d taken over a hotel.

‘I love him dearly. He has the biggest heart imaginable and it’s a selfless act.’

Castillo is currently helping more than 150 people from around 40 different families fleeing the war.

He told hosts Martin Lewis and Susanna Reid that he couldn’t just sit back and watch the crisis unfold on TV.

He said: ‘First of all I was just watching the news like everybody else and I kept getting angrier and angrier every day just feeling bad.

‘I guess it was Zelenskyy that really inspired me because he is such a people’s leader.

‘I just kept saying I was going to go and I just went. I didn’t really have a plan – I just turned up and I had some help from some of my friends in Portugal to do this thing that wasn’t even planned.’

He added: ‘The TV doesn’t do it justice at all. If you’re here your heart is broken. You can’t say no and you just figure out where to find the rest of the money every day and it’s just a big juggling act.

‘I just want to help but I don’t know what else to do really.

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‘I didn’t really have a plan. You’re putting them up, you’re guaranteeing them a couple of weeks and hoping that you can figure something else the next day.

‘I’ve hired a helper here who has been great. Our goal is to get them some place where they can have a home and have dignity and have their lives back.’

Main image: Good Morning Britain

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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