Hundreds of residents came out to support Ukraine on Saturday in the town centre at the pop-up Hawker House food event in the Town Hall and Play for Peace in Market Square.
There were continuous queues to sample the delights of traditional Ukrainian food and other international cuisines provided by The Relais Henley, Crockers of Henley, Henley Larder, HOT WI, Geo Cafe, Bosley Patch, Rachel’s Larder, Sage & Squash, Pavilion Foods, Hotel du Vin and Makin Malaysian UK. Dishes included Lobio Georgian Bean Stew with pickles and bread, Lamb Pilaf Rice and Spanakoptia.
Philippa Ratcliffe from Experience Henley who organised the event said, “It’s thanks to you turning up in your hundreds to support our #cookforukraine Henley Hawker House that made it the success it was, along with the support and professionalism of all of our ‘Hawkers’. Thanks to you and all those who gave their time, expertise, food and energy, at the time of going to press, we have managed to raise £5,581.23 for Unicef UK – Children’s charity – For Every Child in Danger.
Sulie from The Relais Henley said, “We were serving a Lamb Pliaf Rice, a dish typically enjoyed in Ukrainian homes. We wanted to make something that felt like an authentic home cooked dish. The Relais Henley is always looking for ways to support our community, both locally and internationally. We were happy to help, even in a small way and it was wonderful to see how the Henley community can come together for a good cause.”
The Cartland family from Shiplake came to the Hawker House. Mum, Sarah said, “We came to support it both financially and in a community spirit and I think it is important for the kids to come to something like this so that they can understand what is going on a bit more. We had Malaysian Dall and it was very good.”
Play for Peace saw a flash mob of musicians play the Ukrainian National Anthem and Prayer for Ukraine organised by Laura Reineke from Henley Music School in Market Square. It was an emotional and moving renditions with Anastasia Lypynska, a local Ukrainian and her family singing the National Anthem.
Helen Gaynor who played the violin said, “The Play for Peace was emotional particularly with the local Ukranian family singing the National Anthem in the Square with us. Later on that day we all saw images on the TV news of the Ukranian National Anthem being played out over the deserted beautiful square in the centre of Kyiv, it was desperately moving. We do what we can in these hideous circumstances, it doesn’t seem enough, but it comes from the heart and we hope the people of Ukraine can feel that.”
Anastasia said afterwards, “I felt very emotional. I feel both sorry for my country but joy to have such friends who have united today to bring their instruments and played the anthem so nicely. It gave me the opportunity to learn the full version of the anthem. It gives me hope.”
Laura said, “Having played in Trafalgar Square the Sunday before, I felt that we should bring this experience to Henley. It was fantastic! I had to organise it in super-fast time, and thanks to 40 enthusiastic musicians we pulled it off. I think everyone would agree that it was an amazing afternoon, very emotional and moving. I personally think it sounded amazing considering none of us had played before, I was conducting it (which certainly isn’t my forte) and we all just picked our instruments up and got on with it. It just goes to show that music unites, and may it continue to build bridges.”