Ukraine: Hundreds gather in Rugby for remembrance, hope and friendship

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“It was a particularly important time for reflection”

Hundreds of people gathered in Rugby for a special service to mark the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

More than 200 service-goers visited St Andrew’s Church on Saturday.

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The thoughtful liturgy, delivered by the Rev Alison Baxter, addressed a congregation consisting mainly of Ukrainian refugees, host families and friends.

Rugby/Ukrainian Choir singing Ukrainian National Anthem.Rugby/Ukrainian Choir singing Ukrainian National Anthem.
Rugby/Ukrainian Choir singing Ukrainian National Anthem.

Quoting from the church’s Prayer for Ukraine, Rev Baxter said: “Hear the supplication of our afflicted hearts for the land and the people of Ukraine, as they confront foreign aggression and invasion.”

Midway through the service the local Ukrainian Choir performed a passionate rendition of The Ukrainian National Anthem, which brought an appreciative and noisy applause from the congregation.

Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, who attended the service, said afterwards: “It was a particularly important time for reflection and a way to show my solidarity for the whole of Ukraine in support of their plight.

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"I appreciate that they will want to be re-united with their home; yet on days like these we are focused on the friendships we build here in Rugby, which are meaningful and warm.”

Street marchers in Rugby town centre.Street marchers in Rugby town centre.
Street marchers in Rugby town centre.

From the pews inside the church to the streets outside, the singing and banner waving continued, as the congregation lined up before the church gates to march in precession down Regent Street, back up Railway terrace and into the town centre and, in a circuitous route towards the Hill Street Centre, where light refreshments were served.

“I was honoured to share this day with my friends at Rugby’s Ukrainian community,” said Rugby’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Simon Ward.

“It was a very emotional and poignant day for all. And I am happy to stand in solidarity with their cause.”

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Chair of The Association of Ukrainians, Rugby Branch Anna Nepip-Frakis also found the day very effecting.

Turning out for the march.Turning out for the march.
Turning out for the march.

“It was a very emotional day for all Ukrainian families here and all over the world. The strength, bravery, and resilience they constantly show is just beyond words.

"We will keep supporting them for as long as it takes.”

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