Left to right: B. Stepien Froad, P. Szczur, S. Wild, Cllr. G. Newton, Cllr. Z. Ali, Keighley Mayor Cllr. I. Wilson, Cllr S. Walker, Cllr. G. Mitchell, Cllr. J. Newton, M. Lajszczuk and D. Stepien Froad. Inset: Osyp Senysczyn in centre.

The 24 August marked 19 years since Ukraine declared its independence from the then Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Community in Keighley gathered at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Henry Street to commemorate occasion. The Ukrainian National Flag was raised in Town Hall Square and at Henry Street, where members of the community were joined by invited guests.

During his welcoming address, AUGB Branch Chair, Peter Szczur, remarked that the past nineteen years have seen major changes in Ukraine.  Different Presidents have guided the country towards democracy but Ukraine is still a young fledgling country and the present government has still a long way to go to implement necessary the new policies.  During the past five years in particular, President Yuschenko had pressed for the government and country to become more transparent and democratic. Today, Mr Szczur continued, there are increasing examples of anti-democratic occurences in Ukraine.  Russia's historic grip on the country also appears to be on the increase with the gas agreements and more recently the extension of the lease on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea being two particular areas of concern.  Since President Yanukovych came into office in February this year, press censorship seems to be reverting to the old ways before independence.  Ukrainians worldwide are determined and will do everything within their means to try and ensure that Ukraine does not veer from the path of true independence, freedom and democracy.

The community and guests were entertained by the Ukrainian Male Voice Choir.  Mrs Irene Cyhanko read a moving poem written by a friend from Scotland remembering Ukraine’s troubled past and hopes for the future.  Michael Krajnyk gave a recitation dedicated to the fallen heroes of Ukraine.
Ukrainian National Flag flying in Town Hall Square, Keighley
The  Mayor of Keighley, Councillor Ian Wilson, spoke about the Ukrainian Community’s integration into the life of Keighley.  When most of the community arrived in the town after the war, they were displaced persons.  But they made their home here in Keighley and Keighley is very proud to have such a community in its midst.  Councillors Joyce Newton and Sally Walker also spoke about their connections with Ukrainians over the years.

Councillor Khadim Hussein was thanked for his support and for the Ward Investment grant which he helped to secure for the community which enabled the Cultural Centre to make a number of vital improvements.

Also present were Councillors Gerald Newton from Keighley Town Council and Zafar Ali representing both Keighley and Bradford Councils, Mrs Sheila Wild (representing Kris Hopkins MP and the Conservative Association) and Barbara Stepien Froad and husband Dennis from Bradford Council.

The evening brought an unexpected surprise to one member of the Ukrainian Community who had recently celebrated his centenary and is believed to be the oldest surviving member of the Ukrainian Community in the UK.  Peter Szczur presented a photograph to Osyp (Joe) Senysczyn to mark to occasion.

The evening was concluded with a toast to Ukraine’s future followed by light refreshments prepared by the Association of Ukrainian Women.

Mykola Lajszczuk





Ukrayinska Dumka


Great Britain The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain has many branches throughout the country. Select a branch below to find out more information.