A vigil has been held in Malvern to mark a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Around 70 people gathered in Priory Park last Friday (February 24) to commemorate the occasion and reiterate the town’s support for Ukraine.

They also painted stones to be left around Malvern and found by others, to act as a reminder of the ongoing conflict.

Organiser Tanya Averina said it has been a year of “struggle, tears of grief, despair and faith in our victory”.

Tanya came to Malvern last May and now works as a liaison officer for Malvern Hills District Council.

Malvern Gazette: Tanya Averina, who organised the vigilTanya Averina, who organised the vigil (Image: Tanya Averina)

“I feel safe here,” she said. “I have a wonderful host family and I love them like my own, but I worry about my family who stayed in Ukraine and I try to keep in touch with them every day.

“It is incredibly difficult to be separated. Some of my friends left Ukraine, but most of them decided to stay.

“We have been living at war with Russia since 2014. However, the last year since the full-scale invasion has been the most difficult.

“This is a terrible tragedy for our people and for every Ukrainian in particular. It is obvious that for all of us life is divided into before and after February 24, 2022.

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“I remember very clearly that day when the war started, it seems like it was yesterday. This wound will never heal.

“But we stand together, Ukrainians in Ukraine, Ukrainians in England and Ukrainians all over the world and our strength is our unity.”

Tanya said she has had amazing support from her host family since coming to Malvern, adding that many of the people she has met are “incredible people with big hearts”.

“The British are real loyal friends and reliable allies for Ukraine,” she said. “We are extremely grateful to you for your support.

“I believe in the victory of Ukraine, the victory of light over darkness, although I am not sure that this will happen in the near future.”