A UKRAINIAN family being housed near York after their hometown was destroyed will be welcomed to a fundraising concert as VIPs.

Oksana Bojarska, her daughter Weronika, who has just turned 11 and her brother, Nikita, who is seven-years-old, recently arrived in the UK and are being sponsored to live in Bubwith just outside York.

Their home town of Kherson, which is on the banks of the Dnipro River in Eastern Ukraine, has been completely destroyed by the Russian army.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Oksana. “We had to leave our family and friends for a safer life here in the UK. But we think about them every waking moment,” she added.

Now Julia Hemple, originally from Ukraine, who has lived in the UK for more than 20 years, is helping the family adjust to life in the UK.

“I really do thank the people of the UK and our York sponsors for giving my family a safer life. We hope that we can one day return to a safe and free Ukraine,” said Oksana.

The family and their UK sponsors will be the special VIP guests at the Yorkraine benefit concert for Ukraine at the Grand Opera House on the May 24.

“This is the reason why York’s finest musicians and crews have come together,” said Simon Hudson, one of the organisers.

“We have two weeks to sell as many tickets as possible, to show that York stands with Ukraine both in solidarity and the money we raise through the ticket sales for the DEC appeal,” he added.

Ticket sales are going well so far, but the organisers said they want to sell as many as possible.

“We really want to create a special atmosphere on the night, for our Ukrainian VIPs,” said Simon.

The concert is being organised by Ian Surgenor – the man behind other local fundraising events like York Rocks Against Cancer, with support from Simon and Martin Lettin.

Martin said: “The concert will showcase four brilliant bands from the York area – The Supermodels, The Mothers, Y Street Band and Sister Madly, as well as a couple acoustic acts – Mal Fry and Alex Victoria.

“We are hoping to have some guest speakers – local MPs, Archbishop of York and a local man who originates from Ukraine will share his remarkable story.”

The show will be produced by Big Voice Productions and Soapy Productions. It will be hosted by York Mix’s Ben Fry and Jorvik Radio’s Matt Lloyd.

The team is also looking for sponsors to cover the costs of the theatre hire.

Tickets for the show are available on the concert website at: www.ukraineconcertyork.co.uk