A Peterborough couple are desperate to host a disabled Ukrainian man and his family whose home has been destroyed – but are waiting for visas to come through.
John and Rosie Sandall, from Longthorpe, have been visiting Chernihiv, Ukraine, twice a year for the past 25 years and they run the Chernobyl Children's Appeal to support many disabled people in the city.
Chernihiv is now in ruins and John and Rosie were devastated to learn at the weekend that the Zelany Huy sanatorium that they have supported since their first visit in 1997 has been completely destroyed by bombing.
Rosie said: "We feel heartbroken that the centre which we have financially supported all these years has been destroyed. We did a lot of refurbishment work at the sanatorium including fitting a new shower block, replacing all 100 beds and many other projects. The sanatorium provided respite for children for a month at a time and many of our dear friends were doctors there. However, no one was killed when the sanatorium was bombed and, more importantly, many of our families have lost their homes and everything they possessed."
John and Rosie are now hoping to host Max and his family, who have been made homeless during the war.
Rosie said: “We are waiting for visas for a very severely disabled young man called Max and his parents. We have been friends with Max's family for 25 years. He is now 31 and uses a wheelchair. He has taught himself English on the Internet and the last time we saw him we took him The Complete Works of Shakespeare which he read from cover to cover!
“Max and his parents, Svitlana and Vitaliy, left the city of Chernihiv five weeks ago after their home was bombed and eventually crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland. They are now in Warsaw. They had a meeting with the British Council two weeks ago to try to get visas and we heard on Monday that their application is “being processed.”
“"We have no idea why things are taking so long. It was very difficult for us helping them to fill in the forms from a distance but one of our friends from Chernihiv helped them in the end. The questions seemed never ending but, apparently, they now have all the details they need.
“We just hope that their visas are granted quickly and that Max will be coming to Peterborough soon. We look forward to welcoming Max's family here.”
How to help Ukrainian refugees in Peterborough
So far more than 50 visas have been issued for Ukrainian refugees coming to Peterborough.
A special event is being held at Peterborough Cathedral tomorrow (Wednesday) for people interested in hosting Ukrainian refugees in their homes.
The meeting will be held at 6.30pm.
Anyone planning to attend the meeting is asked to register beforehand. The registration link is: