65th reception

On Saturday 22 January, AUGB's head office at 49 Linden Gardens hosted an exhibition and reception to mark the 65th anniversary of the Association, which was founded on 18-19 January 1946 in Edinburgh.

Bishop Hlib Lonchyna of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Rev Yevhen Stasiuk of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church led prayers in memory of the founders of AUGB and for the continued work and development of the Association, for the benefit of all Ukrainians in Great Britain, and - in keeping with the Ukrainian tradition of the feast of the Theophany (Epiphany), blessed everyone present with holy water.

The Ukrainian Embassy was represented by Minister-Counsellor Andriy Kuzmenko and second secretary Orysia Hunder. Counsellor Kuzmenko greeted the Association on behalf of the Ambassador, and presented AUGB President, Zenko Lastowiecki, with a newly-published book of historical documents relating to the declaration of independence on 22 January 1918 and the first Ukrainian government.

Amongst the guests were two of the participants of the inaugural general meeting of the Association, Wasyl Oleskiw (currently Honorary President of AUGB) and Mychajlo Tkachuk, a leading figure in the Association of Former Combatants. Mr Oleskiw spoke eloquently about the various paths which brought Ukrainians to Great Britain after the Second World War and their determination to unite around common ideals: to maintain their Ukrainian identity, history and culture and to work for a free and independent Ukraine.

A highlight of the reception was the first showing of a unique documentary film about the early days of AUGB and Ukrainian communities around the country. This film had been lying, forgotten, in a cupboard, and was found completely accidentally, a matter of weeks before the 65th anniversary. Now re-recorded onto dvd, the film will be a permanent and key feature of AUGB's archival collection, showing, as it does, the life of early communities in various towns and cities across the country, including Nottingham, Manchester, Bury, Reading and Edinburgh.

The film complemented an exhibition of archival material - which included documents and photographs from every decade of AUGB's existence. Together, they provided a sweeping overview of the wide-ranging work of the Association over the last 65 years in almost every field of cultural, political and community life - as well as a poignant reminder of the dedication of many individuals who are no longer with us. We hope that, in remembering the enthusiasm and unity of purpose of AUGB's founders, the Ukrainian community will find a similar strength and purpose to continue working for the benefit of all Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Special thanks to AUGB's CEO, Fedir Kurlak, for the organisation of the day and to Ludmila Pekarska, Librarian and Archivist (with the valuable assistance of Ivanna Maszczak), for collating and organising the exhibition of archival material - a small fraction of the material that exists.

AUGB Governing Council


Ukrayinska Dumka


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