Ukraine family who fled Russian invasion made to feel at home in Burnley village

A family who escaped from one of the Ukraine’s most bombed city targets in the Russian invasion have been made welcome in Cliviger, Burnley.

During a service at Mount Zion Church on Sunday, the family were presented with dual-language New Testaments in Russian and English, while the youngest member of the family was given a children’s Bible, also in the two languages.

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For the last three months the family have attended church after being offered a house in the village and a warm welcome from villagers.

Bible gifts to Ukraine family at Mount Zion Church, Cliviger. From left: Martin Ashby-Smith, Nadiia, Oleksandr, Kateryna, Bohdan, Liz and Nadya Barnfather.

Oleksandr, and Kateryna, and their children, 13-year-old Liz, and seven-year-old Bohdan, and Kateryna’s mother, Nadiia, were given the Testaments during the morning service by church leader Martin Ashby-Smith, with another member of the church, Nadya Barnfather, acting as an interpreter. Nadya was herself born in Georgia where Russian was one of the languages spoken.

“We have been made very welcome in England,” said Kateryna. “People in the village have been very supportive. Our city of Kharliv in the North-East of Ukraine suffered the worst bombing of any city. We managed to leave Ukraine through Romania and got to England about three months ago.

“Our children enjoy attending their new schools and join in many of their schools’ activities.”

In the Ukraine, Oleksandr was a physical health therapist, Kateryna was a business analyst, and Nadiia was a biology teacher.

The couple attend English language classes at Burnley College.

Despite coming from an Orthodox Church background, the family enjoy attending Mount Zion – an independent Methodist Church, which is also a member of the Baptist Union.