Ukrainian independence day

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Niki Stuart told me how the Ukrainian independence day celebrations in Rye came about: “Jess Angell approached me about six weeks ago suggesting that we did something for Ukrainian independence day. I thought it was an excellent idea but stressed the need to get at least one Ukrainian to help us to ensure we knew what to do!”

Luckily there was help at hand as Olena Karabulya and Liuda Melnychenko, along with Sally Savory, who has a Ukrainian family living her, formed the organising team.

Money was donated by a local resident to spend on ingredients and drinks and local businesses were extremely generous with donations for raffle prizes. Richard, from The Lazy Baker, made Pampushky – a Ukrainian garlic bread. The eighty guests thought that it was really tasty, especially when eaten with borscht.

Niki continued, “We laminated images of famous Ukrainians and had a table with fresh flowers, foliage and ribbons to make traditional floral headbands, and tables for drawing and colouring in traditional Ukrainian images.  We also had someone doing face-painting for the children present.  A smart speaker played a mixture of traditional and popular Ukrainian music.”

Local Ukrainians made delicacies of apple cake, cup-cakes and borscht and there was Ukrainian larger and Horilka (Ukrainian vodka) to add to the fayre.

Paul Goring, the town crier ‘cried’ and the mayor, Andi Rivett spoke, “Thank you for inviting me to say a few words at this celebration and fundraiser to mark Ukraine’s independence day. Whilst they are not able to celebrate on the same scale as in previous years, I am sure all those Ukrainians who by necessity or choice remain in their country, will find their own ways to mark this important day.

“By gathering here today we demonstrate our support for the right of Ukraine to sovereignty and peaceful existence; express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine for the values they are fighting to uphold and so we join with our Ukrainian guests and friends to celebrate one of their special days.”

Anthony Kimber thanked the organisers, including Niki and Andy Stuart and Jess Angell, the town crier, the businesses and individuals who had donated money and prizes for the raffle and all those present for making the event so successful.

The hall was decorated with bunting, a mixture of home-made and bought, and balloons in the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow.

Niki summed it up, “It was important to make this a celebration of a noble and independent country and to celebrate its culture and traditions.  It was also important to boost the funds held by the town council for use by the local Ukrainian families who may need additional financial support.  We made about £800 – can’t be bad!”

Image Credits: Kt bruce .

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