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  • Writer's pictureSwindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership

Concert Performance at Christ Church Swindon 24th February 2024 - Marking the 2nd Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Updated: Jan 25

Sadly and tragically the 24th of February is the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. How should a community made up of people from so many countries, including some 350 Ukrainian visitors, respectfully and sensitively mark such an unwelcome anniversary?


One way is to bring together two important local organisations that, in very different ways, exemplify the best of Swindon; The Swindon Concert Band and The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership.

The Swindon Concert Band is one of the regions premier symphonic wind bands. Established in 1971 it attracts players of all ages from the local area. As well as a busy concert programme the band has previously enjoyed success at the National Concert Band Festival. 


Music Director Malcolm Webb said: 


“We are a vibrant award winning amateur wind band that likes to support local charities and to contribute to the local community. Members of the band, as well as supporting locally based Ukrainians, wanted to mark the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are pleased to have found an opportunity to do this in tandem with The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership and help raise funds for their humanitarian work. There is an interesting long standing link between our band and SHAP as Louise Rhoades, our lead flautist, hosted SHAP Board member Zoreslava Lavrentyeva and her teenage son Denys, under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”


Zoreslava said:


“Reflecting on 2023, I find myself in a state of happiness. Though the year presented formidable challenges for our nation, it also introduced me to remarkable individuals and granted me membership of the thriving community of SHAP—an accomplishment that fills me with immense pride. The Rhoades family, in particular, has become our second family, extending their kindness to shelter both me and my teenage son.


I am grateful for the  unparalleled efforts of so many wonderful people who have propelled our collective momentum. The bonds forged with individuals like Carol, Sarah, Kelly, Natalya, Elena, Iryna, Alla and Mike are, in my belief, enduring friendships that will withstand the test of time.


Returning home brings me great joy, as it reunites me with my family in spite of the ongoing dangers. While a new challenge now confronts peaceful Ukrainians—to learn to savour moments of happiness amidst the backdrop of war, persistent sirens, and attacks—we persevere. We continue to work, live, love, and, most importantly, support our great country and people.


Every contribution, no matter how small, is a step towards securing a peaceful future for our beloved Ukraine. I express my gratitude for each pound donated in support of this noble cause.”


Louise responded:


“Whilst we welcomed the opportunity to host a Ukrainian family, we had little idea of how much of an uplifting experience it would turn out to be.


Despite the challenges of settling in the UK and ongoing concerns of family still in Ukraine, Zoria has always been amazingly positive, embracing the local community and the opportunity to support her beloved Ukraine by volunteering at SHAP. She and Denys quickly became an integral part of our family and are an inspiration to us all.  


To me, playing in Swindon concert band means being part of a musical family which is an important part of my life. Zoria shares my passion for music and was an enthusiastic supporter of the band whilst she was in the UK.


We miss having them to stay, but we are still in regular contact, and look forward to visiting Kyiv when we can”


Chair of SHAP Mike Bowden said:


“ We are grateful to Malcolm and the amazing Swindon Concert Band for their support. It’s impossible to imagine what our Ukrainian friends are going through as their country, just a short flight from London, is ravaged by war. They are such determined resilient people and it’s a privilege to do what we can to support them.


Swindon understands the importance of community and culture and is rightly proud of its status within the national City of Sanctuary initiative. The concert at Christ Church on the 24th February will be packed with local people wanting to show their support for Ukraine and Ukrainians as well as enjoy an evening of uplifting music. The finale; the Ukrainian National Anthem, with the audience on their feet waving  Ukrainian flags will be something to behold.”


Tickets are available from

Or from band members.

Date: Saturday 24th February 7:30pm

Ticket price: £10 adults £5 Ukrainians 

Accompanied Under 16s free


Contact details:

For Swindon Concert Band:

Suzanne Woodley 


For Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership:

Mike Bowden or 07379 336627

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