COMMUNITIES in and around Romsey celebrated Ukraine Independence Day with music, dancing and prayers.

Around 100 people gathered in Romsey , on Thursday, August 24 to remember when Ukraine gained its independence from the former Soviet Union.

Ukrainians now living in the town after fleeing war were joined by hosts and allies as well as compatriots from Andover, Eastleigh and Southampton for tea and cakes at the Town Hall and live music from local folk band Kokopelli.

A sea of blue and yellow took over the town centre as the group walked in procession to Romsey Abbey, which was opened specially for Ukrainians and their supporters to light candles and leave stones that children had painted in the national colours.

READ MORE: Covers launch convoy of lorries to aid Ukrainian civilians

Hampshire Chronicle: Candles in the abbeyCandles in the abbey (Image: Cllr Russell Theron)

Welcoming the group to the abbey, Rev Sally Womersley said a prayer for peace and invited people to sit and reflect in St Anne’s Chapel.

Those assembled in the chapel also took part in the Chain of Glory, an initiative from Ukraine that saw communities across the globe join hands to form human chains as an expression of unity and solidarity.

The event finished with more singing and dancing to traditional Ukrainian music back at the Town Hall.

The celebrations were organised by Romsey Ukraine Support Group in conjunction with Test Valley Borough Council.

Deputy Mayor of Romsey, Cllr John Parker, said: “It was lovely to see the Ukrainian guests and their hosts at the Town Hall. We look forward to the day when they can be reunited with their families in their home country.”

SEE ALSO: Music event announces that it raised almost £4,000 at last festival

Hampshire Chronicle: Romsey councillorsRomsey councillors (Image: Cllr Russell Theron)

Cllr Russell Theron, from Romsey Town Council, said: “It was a wonderful evening and well attended with Ukrainians who have settled into Test Valley, host families and volunteers all coming together in joyful celebration.

“The most poignant moment for me was in the abbey when a young lady from Southampton thanked the people of Romsey for their kindness and suggested we join hands and form a human chain as a sign of solidarity against the struggles being faced by the citizens of Ukraine.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Ukraine Independence Day in BroughtonUkraine Independence Day in Broughton (Image: Sue Stafford)

Around 150 villagers came together in Broughton for an evening of Ukrainian food, music and dance.

Ukrainian artists sang Ukrainian songs, danced traditional dances in national costume, and a duet of cellist and violinist played music by Ukrainian composers.

Audience members clapped in appreciation and many donated to Ukraine Charities.