Audience packed Wroughton venue for Ukrainian cultural evening

By Barrie Hudson - 5 November 2022

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  • Yeseniia Bagri performed Ukrainian song Vesnianka

    Yeseniia Bagri performed Ukrainian song Vesnianka

Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership hosted an evening of Ukrainian and British music and culture.

Kseniia Iaremych led the singing of a Ukrainian hymn and performed two traditional songs
The organisation, which provides aid to the embattled country and helps Ukrainians arriving in Britain after being forced from their land, organised the vent to promote its work and its philosophy of unity.
The audience at Wroughton's Ellendune Hall were treated to music, dance, poetry and displays of gymnastics and fencing.
VIP guests included South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland and Labour's South Swindon Prospective Parliamentary candidate Heidi Alexander - and each also had a place on the bill.
Sir Robert, who is Welsh, sang the country's national anthem, Land of My Fathers, and Ms Alexander delivered a poem, New Day's Lyric, by Amanda Gorman, which sounds a message of hope and unity in the face of dire challenges.
Sir Robert, long a staunch supporter of the aid partnership's work, said before his performance: "I think events like tonight really bring it home to us that we're not just talking about an amorphous group of people. They are human beings with passions, with skills, with talents just like us, and that's what I think tonight is all about."
Sir Robert thanked aid partnership chair Mike Bowden for his team, and added that he had the privilege of helping to bring the partnership together as it grew from an aid effort centred around Swindon charity Phoenix Enterprises.
He added: "I've just been meeting a lady who I helped with a visa for two Ukrainian ladies who are now living with her, and that has been the story of the last few months for me. 
"I've been working with hosts to make sure that they're matched up with Ukrainian refugees, and making sure that we in Swindon have been doing our part to support this incredible national effort."
Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership has so far delivered over 700 tonnes of aid.
Decorations at the venue included vases of sunflowers, the symbolic bloom of Ukraine, and some of the Ukrainian children wore sunflower crowns and national dress. There were frequent calls of 'Slava Ukraini!' ('Glory to Ukraine!')
Aid partnership chair Mike Bowden said to a great cheer: "In the months following February, I've got to know, probably, 200 Ukrainians, and they are the most delightful, resilient, humble, educated, magnificent people you will ever meet."
 

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