Ukraine vigil in Ipswich welcomes 'friends as they step on safe Suffolk soil'

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A vigil to mark 60 days since the war began in Ukraine has been marked on the steps of Ipswich Town Hall, with prayers said for those caught up in the conflict, particularly families and children.

Crowds gathered to take part in the event wearing items of yellow or blue to listen to speakers including Ukrainian Christians, local teenagers and Judge Martyn Levett, who is the honorary recorder of Ipswich.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

In his speech, Judge Levett said he endorsed the county's invitation to help people fleeing war and stood in solidarity with Ukraine and its people, "supporting them by providing the best opportunity to be a part of our Suffolk communities".

He added: "We welcome our Ukrainian friends as they step on safe Suffolk soil for the first time and with a sense of relief having escaped the grim consequences of a war.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Now, 60 days on, a senseless war has raged. 

"In Ipswich we are waking up to lighter mornings and warmer days, but further afield people are waking up to horrors they never imagined possible. Some wake up to think the end of the world has arrived and the sickening reality of terror.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"The worst moments in any person's life are those final words of goodbye to husbands, boyfriends and sons left in a community scattered by war. Some leave in grief, honouring the lives of child, spouse or boyfriend they loved.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Ukraine flags were flown from the town hall - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"Now these families must navigate a whole new world in a different country.  

"The heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, for aid to be guaranteed to the besieged areas, enables the county of Suffolk to offer vital relief to our oppressed brothers and sisters."

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Children from Ipswich International Church prayed for the children caught up in the conflict - both in Ukraine and those shortly arriving or arrived in Ipswich - and an interview with Simon Barrington, chair of Together for Ipswich, gave more information about how to get involved with the town's efforts to support Ukraine.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

People of all ages showed their solidarity with Ukraine - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Words were said to praise the work of aid agencies and hopes for peace and an end to the violence were shared. 

A two-minute silence was led near the end of the vigil.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

The Ipswich community came together for the vigil - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hundreds of people gathered on the Ipswich Cornhill to pray for the people of Ukraine.

The vigil marked 60 days since Russia invaded Ukraine - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown