Sawbridgeworth people stand in solidarity for the people of Ukraine in emotional vigil at Sayesbury Manor
A blackbird broke the silence with its last song of the day as Sawbridgeworth stood in contemplation and solidarity with the people of war-torn Ukraine at an emotional vigil on Saturday evening.
The event in Bell Street car park and the grounds of Sayesbury Manor, held to send a message of support to the people of Ukraine, heard Sawbridgeworth Evangelical and Congregational Church minister Gary Hanson declare how residents could "stand together in our small way in this small town".
Town Cllr Annelise Furnace read a statement from Yana, a Ukrainian woman whose family are living in a city in Ukraine, in which she said how important it was for her country that they had support. "Even the thought that they are not alone and someone is thinking about them gives them strength," read Annelise.
Town Mayor Cllr Greg Rattey read a poem from a son to his father, who has gone to war, entitled "I wonder if Daddy Misses me" and struggled to get through.
Polish resident Agnieszka Cebulak who thanked the community for helping her to collect a "huge wave of donations" for Ukraine and whose family back home were helping refugees fleeing the conflict told the gathered crowd: "This will not be a sprint - it will be a marathon of help."
Cllr David Royle revealed he had friends in Ukraine and paid tribute to the "resilience, courage and determination" of the country's people, but slammed the British government's "miserable effort" on receiving refugees.
Fr Simon Vivian, vicar of Great St Mary's in Sawbridgeworth, led the crowd of around 200 people in prayer before the Ukrainian national anthem was played and residents stood in silence, waving their blue and yellow flags and holding up their tea lights.
Gary Hanson then urged people to "cover this town with the blue and yellow" of Ukraine by painting stones and placing them in every road and avenue.
Sawbridgeworth Town Council thanked Ross Leary from Training+Skills for providing the first aid cover and also Hertfordshire Police.