The Countess of Wessex visited St Andrew’s Church in Wiveliscombe yesterday, to see the work that has been done by WWR. It was a joyous occasion, the church was set out for a lovely tea party, and over 60 Ukrainian adults and children who are living in the area attended with their hosts and supporters.
We have seven Ukrainian families living in Milverton. The Countess stayed far longer than had been planned, and everyone who met her was charmed by her warmth and concern.
Iryna, spoke movingly saying that they have been welcomed into the community and uniquely been encouraged to form their own Ukrainian community too which is centred on the hub, meeting three times a week in St Andrews Their appreciation and heartfelt thanks was apparent in every word.
It was made clear that being able to meet together after lessons and chat and practice English with volunteers has been a godsend. Worries do not seem so bad when shared over tea and homemade cakes, many baked by Milverton WI. It is clear that what WWR is doing is very special and the Bishop of Taunton, head of Somerset County Council, a senior police officer and Mayor of Taunton were most impressed and saw that this was a model to follow.
Learning English has been key: over 110 lessons have been taught, over 80 of them by Olga from North Street who is seen speaking to the Countess in one of the photos. The card the Countess is holding was made by Nina who is a guest in the Old House. All the Ukrainian children from Milverton were there. In Ecclesia (coached by Olga in pronunciation) sang the Prayer for Ukraine beautifully; there was hardly a dry eye.