Villa Park Solidarity With Ukraine
During this weekend’s round of Premier League matches, Aston Villa, along with their fellow Premier League clubs, will demonstrate solidarity with the Ukraine in reaction to the current invasion by Russia.
For Southampton’s visit to Villa Park, the Ukraine flag will fly from the Douglas Ellis stand, while both the Villa and Southampton captains will wear Ukrainian armbands. There will be further messages of support on the giant screens and LED’s around the stadium.
Interestingly and disappointedly, because of this Premier League club support of the Ukraine, the Chinese television broadcaster IQIYI will pull the plug on the games being shown in a blatant act of censorship.
In Our Thoughts
Four years ago, I organised two 10-year-old Ukraine boys to visit Villa Park for the Peterborough United FA Cup game.
Tim and Sasha were staying with my sister over Christmas, as part of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity initiative.
Since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine, children from near-by areas are still susceptible to radiation induced illnesses (including leukaemia and various cancers) and a trip to the UK can help rebuild or boost their immune systems for up to two years, which is an vital growth period for children.
Despite very short notice, Villa were brilliant at arranging for the boys to come to the FA Cup game (shame about the match!) and gave them a tour behind the scenes to make their final full day in the UK a special one (see below Instagram pics).
My sister has kept in touch with the lads and obviously was keen to get an update on their welfare as Putin’s invasion unfolded. They live in Borodyanka, six days ago, one of the boy’s mothers informed her that they were currently in a bunker with “tanks all around and bombs everywhere” and asked her to pray for them.
That is the last time we have heard from them.
Anybody who has watched the news in the past couple of days will have seen the devastating footage from Borodyanka of residential buildings being destroyed by missiles. In short, it’s a picture of grim destruction (just search ‘Borodyanka’ on Twitter).
Hopefully the boys and their families are safe and well, and we get some good news soon.
Our thoughts will be very much with them during the game at Villa Park this afternoon.
Lets hope that one day both Tim and Sacha get to visit Villa Park once again.
UTV & FVP
Please donate to support the Ukraine Crisis
Either directly to Ukraine – www.savelife.in.ua/en/donate
Donate by SMS Text Message*
To donate £3, text AWFR01 to 70331
To donate £5, text AWFR01 to 70970
To donate £10, text AWFR01 to 70191
* Fundraising, payments and donations will be processed and administered by the National Funding Scheme (Charity No: 1149800), operating as DONATE. Texts will be charged at your standard network rate. For Terms & Conditions, see www.easydonate.org