Ukrainian families settle into Norfolk life with bank holiday BBQ

Adam Hale-Sutton, seated second left, who with Chris Ketley, left, and Sam Thain, seated third left

Adam Hale-Sutton, seated second left, who with Chris Ketley, left, and Sam Thain, seated third left, enjoy a celebration with their families and the Ukranians they managed to help get out of the Ukraine and find homes in Norfolk. Seated from left, Bohdan, 16, from Chernigov; Adam; Sam; Vita from Kyiv; Andrew Macey; Larysa from Cherigov; and Helen Hale-Sutton. Boys back from left, unknown; Sam Hale-Sutton, nine, and his brother, William, 12; and Mykyta, 10. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Families who fled war-torn Ukraine have marked settling into a temporary new life in Norfolk with a special bank holiday get-together with volunteers who helped them to the UK.  

Four Ukrainians helped to the UK from Poland by scout leader Adam Hale-Sutton in the Hethersett Primary School bus enjoyed that most British of bank holiday Monday activities - a barbecue under steely grey skies.

Adam Hale-Sutton, right, with Chris Ketley, left, and Sam Thain, get together to enjoy a celebration

Adam Hale-Sutton, right, with Chris Ketley, left, and Sam Thain, get together to enjoy a celebration after the Ukranians they managed to help get out of the Ukraine are now safely settled in Norfolk. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Hale-Sutton, 43, from Little Melton near Norwich, spent six weeks leading mercy missions to deliver aid to the Ukrainian border and to help rescue refugees to safety after being deeply moved by their experiences. 

Among those he and fellow volunteers helped to Norfolk, despite lengthy delays in getting their UK visas, were mothers and sons Larysa and Bohdan Bobor, 16, and Viktoriya and Mykita Lomakovskyi, 10.

The group all had sponsors waiting to accommodate them in the UK but delays in having their visas processed had left them stuck in a holiday let in Dunkirk.

Lord Dannatt, and his wife Lady Dannatt - the county’s lord-lieutenant - have taken Larysa and Bohdan into their home in Keswick, south of Norwich.

Ukranian Vita and her son Mykyta, 10, from Kyiv, enjoy a celebration as they are now safely settled

Ukranian Vita and her son Mykyta, 10, from Kyiv, enjoy a celebration as they are now safely settled in Norfolk. - Credit: Denise Bradley

“They are all settling into life in Norfolk already. Bohdan starts high school on Tuesday while Mykita had already started last week,” said Mr Hale-Sutton.

“Viktoriya is doing a course as a translator with the aim of helping Ukrainian families coming to Norfolk as a liaison officer.

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“She was one of the first people we picked up from the border but she speaks fluent English and she stayed with me for the whole time I was there as a translator. She has been amazing.”

In total the mercy missions led by Mr Hale-Sutton with fellow volunteers Chris Ketley and Sam Thain, helped more than 90 families relocate to Ireland, after teaming up with Irish charity workers, while others had a longer wait to get to the UK. 

Ukranian Larysa and her son Bohdan, 16, from Chernigov, enjoy a celebration as they are now safely s

Ukranian Larysa and her son Bohdan, 16, from Chernigov, enjoy a celebration as they are now safely settled in Norfolk. - Credit: Denise Bradley

He said the bank holiday barbecue was to help Norfolk’s new arrivals to acclimatise as well as keeping in touch to help with any problems. 

Despite no longer travelling to Poland himself, the groundwork means more people seeking safety could soon arrive

He added: “I have handed the baton on to someone else out there and he is still coordinating with people here in Norfolk, organising visas and things, ready for more people coming.”