THE Ukrainian National Anthem echoed through an ancient village church on Saturday (May 7), as a concert was held to raise money for the Ukrainian Relief Fund.

In the chancel of St Nicholas church in Longparish hung the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine and in a front pew were five refugee guests who had arrived in the village a few days earlier to live with local families

About 150 people attended the concert, among them Caroline Nokes MP and Cllr David Drew of Test Valley Borough Council.

Meanwhile, more than three thousand pounds was raised for the fund.

The concert repertoire, sung by Longparish community choir, featured tunes such as Born Free, what a Wonderful World, You’ll Never Walk Alone and The Souls of The Righteous.

But the biggest challenge for the choir was learning how to sing the Ukrainian National Anthem in Ukrainian.

Rating their attempt, Kateryna Hydasova, whose home is in Zaporizhzhia about 100 miles from Mariupol, said: “Nine out of ten. They were very good and it was moving."

The concert was originally planned, since the end of 2019, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, but the pandemic intervened.

Choir director Cathy Yelf said: “Optimistically, it was later planned as a post pandemic event in both May and September 2021. Then it was to be a concert to mark the retreat of Covid-19 and celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

“Now in the light of the terrible events in Eastern Europe, Ukraine is very much in our thoughts and the focus changed to raise funds for that cause.”

A raffle for the original sunflower program cover, painted by villager Allison Cooper, alone raised a thousand pounds.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.