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Ukrainian children enjoy a bit of Yorkshire Christmas magic

On Monday this week, 32 Ukrainian children and their families who are living in our community as part of the ‘Homes for Ukraine scheme” were able to experience a bit of Yorkshire Christmas magic on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway ‘Christmas Special’.

Greeted on arrival by Santa, there were treats, refreshments and gifts for all. The family event was sponsored and funded by the Rotary Clubs of Ilkley and Ilkley Wharfedale.

Joint Rotary President Peter Mate of Ilkley Wharfedale commented: “This was a wonderful opportunity to spoil our young guests and their families, many having left their menfolk and friends back in their Ukraine homeland. Our special guests are working so hard in their new lives, with children now all settled into local schools, and making new friends.”

The Ilkley ISSUE (Ilkley & Surrounds Support for Ukrainian Evacuees) group is a hub which helps co-ordinate and support the work of the many groups and individuals who provide opportunities for our Ukrainian friends to meet up, make friends and build support networks as well as accessing language development, training opportunities, employment, help and advice securing accommodation.

Ilkley and District host the largest Ukrainian support group in the Bradford District. The group are generously supported by numerous organisations across the town. For more information about how you could become involved please contact

Peter added: “As you can see a fantastic time was had by all and we wish them and their families a very Happy Christmas and a brighter future for 2023.”


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