Moved by footage of a father bidding a tearful farewell to his family, London taxi driver Matt Westfall felt compelled to do something to help those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

"I was watching the TV one night and I see a man in his mid-30s with his wife and child, and all three of them were sobbing. It really did grab my attention ... it quite upset me," Westfall, 52, told Reuters. "I thought 'what can I do about it'?"

Westfall contacted one of his friends and they got together a group of fellow "black cab" drivers with the aim of ferrying escaping Ukrainians to where they needed to go. They also raised about 10,000 pounds for aid as donations flooded in from various taxi organisations and on the crowd funding service GoFundMe.

Last week, the group of six London black cabs, another car and a van set off on the 11-hour trip to Poland, with the convoy attracting cheers and waves as it made its way through Europe.

They dropped off the aid, which included sanitary products, baby food and nappies, and then started on the mission to take those who needed lifts to reach friends and family. He recalled the shock when coaches arrived at one refugee centre packed with women and children fleeing from the fighting.

"Emotionally I wasn't ready for these coaches. Even now it still rocks me," said Westfall, saying how it brought back memories of stories from his own family of what it was like during "the Blitz" - the German bombing campaign of Britain in World War Two.

He recounted how one of the group's passengers included a woman with a six-year-old girl who had not eaten on their 15-hour coach journey from Ukraine to Poland.

"She was getting very, very concerned for her daughter's health and well-being," he said. Then one his friends knelt down next to her, and said "McDonald's".

"The little girl's eyes just switched on like a light and it was just an amazing feeling that all of a sudden this little girl's woke up," Westfall said.

Another woman in her late 30s with three children was sobbing uncontrollably, having fled from Kyiv where her apartment block had been bombed while her husband was fighting on the front line. She had nothing except two tiny rucksacks and a plastic bag.

"She was in absolute bits crying her eyes out," Westfall said. "That's all she had in this world. That for me was one of the most painful sights I'll ever see. I'll be eternally grateful for the drivers that come with me. We covered 2700 miles in just over three days. We made 28 people safe."

(Writing by Michael Holden; Editing by Alex Richardson)