THE TORCH OF REMEMBRANCE IN ASHTON

Ashton
01.07.08


Ashton
Ashton community members with the Mayor of Tameside and other guests

On 1 July 2008,on the steps of the Ukrainian centre and in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Tameside, local Councillors, distinguished guests and three generations of the Ukrainian community, the chairman of AUGB Rochdale branch officially handed over the Torch of Remembrance to the chairman of AUGB Ashton, Stefan Wolosiansky, flanked by Anna Fedeszko, Chair of the Ukrainian Youth Association in Ashton (CYM), Anna Bolton Chair of the Women’s Organisation in Ashton (OUZ) and members of the AUGB branch Committee. Arriving with the torch were Dr Askold Lozynskiy (President of the Ukrainian World Congress), Vladyslav Rohoviy (Cultural Attache from the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK), Bohdan Ratych (Chair of the Holodomor Commemoration Committee) and Martyn Chymera (member of the central committee of the Ukrainian Youth Association).

From the front entrance of the centre the torch was carried by the Chairman with the Mayor by his side into the community hall where more than 70 people had assembled to pay their respects to the 7 million innocent victims of the Holodomor.

During a short commemorative ceremony, the Torch was held by community member Stefan Kowaliw and a power point presentation flashed images and facts to those assembled, reminding them of the scale of Stalin’s actions to eradicate the Ukrainian people.

The opening address was given by Stefan Wolosiansky who welcoming everyone and thanked them for giving up their time to honour the victims of the Holodomor. Branch Secretary Petro Rewko briefly outlined the facts of the events of 1932-33, and stated that the world should not soften the atrocity of the Holodomor for the sake of political relationships with the Russian government. Mr Rohoviy gave a short address and then Dr Askold Lozynskiy gave a very moving speech which really hit home to those unaware of this page in history, detailing the barbarism and horror of the Holodomor, ending with an account of a 9 year old girl who had lost all her family.

Stefan Wolosiansky read a short prayer in remembrance of all the victims of the Holodomor:

“God of spirits and of all flesh, You trampled death, You made the devil powerless, and You gave life to Your world. Now, O Lord, to the souls of Your servants, who have fallen asleep, grant rest in a place of light, a place of verdure, and a place of tranquility, from which pain, sorrow and mourning have fled. As the good and loving God, forgive every sin of thought, word or deed they have committed. There is no one who will live and will not sin, for You alone are sinless. Your justice is everlasting justice and Your word is truth. In blessed sleep grant eternal rest O Lord to Your ever to be remembered servants and make their memory everlasting.” 

The Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Jack Davies, gave a short speech admitting himself that he was one of the many who knew nothing or very little of what happened in 1932-33, adding that events such as these should be brought out into the open for the world to know and be recognised for what they are. Mr Wolosiansky presented the Mayor with a copy of the book ‘Genocide in Ukraine’ and thanked everyone for attending the commemoration.

The local press were present and an account was published the next day for all of Tameside to read.

After a short reception, during which all present signed the Book of Remembrance, the Mayor invited Askold Lozynskiy, Vladislav Rohoviy and other guests to the Mayor’s parlour at the Town Hall. The Mayor and Askold Lozynskiy discussed various issues, including American politics and the history and traditions of Tameside. Before leaving, both Askold and Vladyslav received gifts from the Mayor as a reminder of their visit to the Borough. The party then continued the Torch’s journey to the Ukrainian Community in Stockport.. 

 



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