Refugee will sing to thank Norfolk village which has given her a home

Olena Polyvach

Ukrainian refugee Olena Polyvach and her daughter Victoria, who have been given a home by a family in Norfolk - Credit: Chris Bishop

A refugee singer who fled war in Ukraine will take to the stage for a Platinum Jubilee performance to thank the community which has adopted her.

Olena Polyvach and her one-year-old daughter Victoria are  staying in Whittington, between Downham Market and Thetford.

Mrs Polyvach, 34, planned to remain in Kyiv after the Russian invasion began on February 24, before the war intensified.

Olena Polyvach

Olena Polyvach and her daughter Victoria playing on a swing at their new home away from the fighting in Ukraine - Credit: Chris Bishop

"I thought I would not leave Kyiv," she said. "But after a few weeks, after the awful things in Mariupol started happening with the maternity hospital, I knew I had to leave with my daughter. There were no rules any more."

Harrowing images shocked the world after Russian forces bombed a maternity hospital in the port city in the south of the country on March 9. 

Mrs Polyvach had been contacted by Jack Daubney, a musician she had worked with onboard cruise ships, urging her to get out of Ukraine while she could. 

Olena Polyvach

From left, Wayne and Agela Daubney with Ukrainian refugee Olena Polyvach and her daughter Victoria at their home near Downham Market - Credit: Chris Bishop

She has previously stayed with Mr Daubney's parents, Wayne and Angela, and the couple were willing to offer her a home.

Most Read

Mrs Polyvach boarded a refugee train, leaving her husband Sergei, who works as a cook, behind in Kyiv with the couple's two cats.

After weeks of delays waiting in Budapest for visas and paperwork, she arrived in Whittington on April 22.

Olena Polyvach

Olena Polyvach and her daughter Victoria, who have fled the fighting in Ukraine - Credit: Chris Bishop

Mrs Polyvach said: "It took us a month to get to the UK, but now I feel safe and at home. I want to say thank you to all UK people for their support and care, and especially to my wonderful English family for having us."

Neighbours and friends from the village have donated toys and a car seat for Victoria.

Mrs Polyvach will be performing at Wereham Village Hall, alongside other acts, during the concert planned as the finale for the village's fun day to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Saturday, June 4 (7pm).

Olena Polyvach

Olena Polyvach worked as a singer, theatre producer and drama teacher in UKraine - Credit: Supplied by Olena Polyvach

"I want to say thank you not only to the community but for all your country is doing for Ukraine," she said.

Latest figures say some 46,000 Ukrainians have died during the conflict and 14 million have been displaced since Russian tanks rolled across the border and missile strikes began.