Candlelit vigil at Clitheroe Castle marks first anniversary of Russain invasion of Ukraine
Stewart Fletcher, Ribble Valley councillor for the St Mary’s ward in Clitheroe, said: “The vigil went well and there was a really good turnout.
“It is important to let Ukrainians know that they are welcome members of our community and we stand beside them in their resistance to Putin’s invasion.
“The castle with the Ukrainian flag flying at full-mast and the Tree for Ukraine surrounded by candlelight looked fantastic.”
Mary Robinson, who is the councillor for the Primrose ward in Clitheroe, added: “I spoke to many Ukrainians after the vigil and let them know that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them during their terrible ordeal.”
Prayers were led by the Rev. Mark Pickett of St James’s Church in Clitheroe at the castle’s ‘Tree for Ukraine’.
The tree, a species of birch native to Eastern Europe, was planted in the castle grounds overlooking Woone Lane as a show of solidarity with Ukraine and displaced Ukrainians in July.
Ribble Valley Mayor Stuart Hirst said: “Flying the Ukrainian flag full mast from the borough’s most iconic landmark will send a clear signal of our enduring support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and is a mark of respect for the bravery and sacrifice of the Ukrainian people.
“And the candlelit vigil and prayers shows Ukrainian families who have found refuge in Clitheroe after fleeing their country that they are a welcome and valued part of our community.
“Trees are a global symbol of hope, peace and unity, and this beautiful birch tree shows our solidarity with Ukraine as we gather and pray for an end to this terrible conflict.”
More than 80 Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country have found refuge with Ribble Valley families under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Ribble Valley Council has appointed a dedicated Ukraine liaison officer, while several community groups and churches are supporting refugees.
The tree is accessible by foot via the Woone Lane entrance to Clitheroe Castle, or by wheelchair or mobility scooter via the Eshton Terrace entrance.