A candlelit vigil was held outside Retford Town Hall on Sunday in support of the people of Ukraine after the country was invaded by Russia.
The event was led by Retford resident MariaPoala Ditch, who is the Support Ukraine UK coordinator for Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, and Bassetlaw District Council councillor Helen Tamblyn-Saville, of Retford West.
As invasions began, Maria, aged 57, approached coun Tamlyn-Saville to discuss how Retford could show support for the people of Ukraine.
Alongside district council’s plans to raise the Ukrainian flag above Worksop and Retford town halls, coun Tamlyn-Saville suggested she and Maria hold a vigil - which ended up attracting an estimated 200 residents and raising £1,000 for the Support Ukraine UK appeal, with the help of a cake sale and a collection by the Retford Lions.
Maria, a cake business owner, said: “It was really, really beautiful and touching to see how many people came and took part in the candlelit vigil - it's beautiful to know that that support is there in our local area for Ukraine.
“My dad was Ukrainian and early in January, I was getting very worried about the tensions that we're building towards Ukraine.
"I’m glad he's not here to see this hell now because it would have broken his heart – but, I wish he could see the support that not only locally, but internationally that people have for Ukraine.
“People are really on board with wanting to do something, but I think as a community, people need somewhere to go to collectively show their support for Ukraine.
“The vigil enabled people to be together to show they care, and that message does reach Ukraine, and they're very thankful that we're doing something.”
A period of silence was held during the vigil where those who attended lit a candle, and a local woman also sang in Ukrainian for the crowd.
Coun Helen Tamblyn-Saville said: “It was a very poignant event as we gathered to show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
“Maria's speech was deeply moving, a time for us all to reflect.”
To donate to Support Ukraine UK’s appeal, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/supportukraineuk
Video credit: Retford Information Page.