TEIGNMOUTH recognised Ukraine’s Independence Day with a ceremony and flag raising in the town centre.

Mayor Cllr Joan Atkins led the commemorations, describing it as ‘perhaps one of the hardest things I have had to do as town mayor’.

She said while the day should have been a celebration, the war against Russian continued with President Zelen ky leading an ‘heroic fight’.

She paid tribute to the many Ukrainian people who fled their homes and travelled with their families to find safety.

Speaking at the ceremony, she said: ‘Some have settled here in Teignmouth, hosted by English families that have opened their homes to them, helped them to settle in a try to carry on their lives.

‘Our host families are owed thanks from us for all their generosity and the efforts that they, community leaders and organisations such as Teignbridge Community Voluntary Services and Volunteering In Health and many more have made in helping them feel safe and welcome in our country.’

She said Ukraine deserved the greatest admiration for continuing its robust defence of its lands and independence.

In her speech, she said: ‘They should know that we stand with them in solidarity and support for their right to live in freedom.’

Those in attendance, including one Ukrainian refugee now living in Teignmouth, observed a minute’s silence as the flag was raised.

Cllr Atkins said the event was to ‘reflect on the loss of life both military and civilian, the devastation to property and the environment and the need to ongoing support for Ukraine’.