Over £440 raised for emergency appeal at vigil for Ukraine in Staple Hill

A vigil for the people of Ukraine held at Fountain Square in Staple Hill today raised more than £440 for the emergency appeal.

Members of the Staple Hill Salvation Army band played and there were prayers led by Majors Colin and Nicola Hylton-Jones  from the church.

People were invited to lay single flowers on the Ukrainian flag in remembrance of lives already lost.

The flag, which had been in the old Dame School in Mangotsfield where a vigil was held earlier this month, and which was used in a previous vigil outside the Russian Embassy in London, is being used to record messages of support for the people of Ukraine.

Among those attending the vigil were Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward councillors Ian Boulton, Michael Bell and Katie Cooper and Kingswood councillor Andrea Reid.

Cllr Cooper said she and other councillors had registered to take on Ukrainian refugees. She explained that at the moment you need to know the name of the refugee so urged anyone who has family members or friends that are trying to get to the UK to talk to her to make a list to pair people up.

Cllr Boulton said “We sometimes feel helpless watching the reports on the news. This is a way of coming together with like-minded people and I hope that some of the feelings we have here today will get to the Ukrainians that are suffering in the field at the moment but also our local Ukrainian community.”

There were activities for children including planting a sunflower seed (the national flower of Ukraine), colouring a sunflower picture and making badges to wear as a reminder to think of those affected by war.

People could also reflect under a tent that had been erected to remember those who have been displaced and are living in temporary accommodation. And there were crackers and water so that people could remember the hardships that people in Ukraine are going through.

The flag will be in Staple Hill Library for two weeks for any additional messages to be added before being delivered to the Ukrainian Embassy in London by Cllr Boulton as a show of solidarity from the residents of Staple Hill and Mangotsfield to the people of Ukraine.

A cash collection at the hour-long vigil raised £448 for the DEC Humanitarian Appeal, including more than £100 from the Red Lion in Mangotsfield.

Online donations can also be made directly at www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

Meanwhile the Staple Hill branch of the Salvation Army has also thanked the community for supporting a coffee morning fundraiser for the organisation’s work in Ukraine during the crisis which raised more than £2,200.

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