A Ukrainian family living in Hampshire have expressed their ‘deep gratitude’ to a housebuilder for providing a house to live in when they escaped the war in their country.

Mykhailo and Maria Riabchuk, with son Ivan, moved into a three-bedroom home at Bewley’s Watership Place development in Whitchurch last April.

The family quickly became part of the community, working in a local factory and with the money they had saved by not paying rent, sent back supplies to Ukraine for the frontline soldiers.

Bewley has now extended the Riabchuks’ tenancy agreement for another 12 months, which will enable the family to continue to support their country with vital medical supplies to help the war effort every month via Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav outside Kyiv, which was recently visited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to thank everyone involved through the institution for their support.

Andover Advertiser: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav. (Photo by Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav. (Photo by Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav) (Image: Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav)

The family, who are enjoying being part of the community in the popular Hampshire village, were keen to keep the message in the media about their country’s plight.

Mykhailo said: “We don’t have the words to describe our deep gratitude for all the help and generosity Bewley has shown our family in such difficult times in our lives.

"It has been a dark period for us and when we were struggling to see a way forward, and Bewley came forward, not only to provide our family with a safe and warm place to live, but a home.

“It’s easy to take shelter and warmth for granted when you have it. We are now blessed not to have to sleep in our clothes because there is no heating, or fear of waking up to the sound of sirens and bombs dropping. Bewley has given us hope and a positive outlook for the future.”

Maria said: “We wanted to do our bit for the troops at the front line and with Bewley’s support we can continue this. We have been buying basic medical supplies, which are much needed, and posting them back to our country.”

Maria added: “We can’t thank everyone at Bewley Homes enough. We are just glad we are safe and living in Whitchurch, which is such a nice place. We have been made very welcome.

"Everything we have seen and experienced over the last 12 months is very difficult to convey in words. We have made a Bewley sign and message to give to the company as a small way to say thank you.”

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Andrew Brooks, Bewley Homes’ managing director, said the Basingstoke-based housebuilder was very supportive of the family.

Andrew said: “We were delighted to hear the Riabchuks have settled into life here in Hampshire and are trying to live as normally as possible in the circumstances.

“As a housebuilder, we are in a very fortunate position to be able to offer a home to the family. It was absolutely the right thing to do.

"With the help of Charters estate agency and I’m delighted we were able to make this happen. We hope Mykhailo, Maria and Ivan continue to be very happy living in Whitchurch.”