President Zelensky gifts Chorley's Lindsay Hoyle a Ukrainian air force helmet

President Volodymr Zelensky presented Sir Lindsay Hoyle with the Ukrainian helmet from one of its most successful pilots. Credit: PA Images

Sir Lindsey Hoyle, the Chorley MP and Speaker of the House of Commons, has been gifted a helmet of the Ukrainian Air Force by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Sir Lindsey had introduced the Ukrainian President ahead of the visitor's address to Parliament during his first UK visit since the invasion by Russia.

It emerged the two men are already well known to each other, having 'hit it off immediately' when they met in October 2020 and the Speaker introduced the President to Chorley Cakes.

Sir Lindsay said: “Our friendship began on the 8th of October 2020…with much laughter over an English afternoon tea, and, of course, Chorley Cakes."

The Speaker went on to talk about the Ukrainian war which started nearly a year ago. 

He said: “Fighting for your country is not simply fighting for territory, But it’s a fight for home and for an ideal. 

“The endurance of the people of Ukraine honours those ideals. Their refusal to allow war to destroy their humanity honours those ideals.”

Sir Lindsey praised the Ukrainian people for their determination during the war, describing them as standing by the ideals they’re fighting for, pledging the support from Britain.

“I pledge here today, in front of all of you, to do all I can to keep the plight of Ukraine in the spotlight,” he said.

With Eurovision taking place in May, Sir Lindsay stressed how the UK and Ukraine would be united in music together.

“Slavi Ukraini!” he shouted, welcoming Zelensky to the microphone. 

President Zelensky took to the stage as MPs applauded.

He discussed the first time the pair met: "Mr Speaker, you may well remember two years ago, I met with you here in Parliament, it was a great honour for me, and I remember we enjoyed tea.”

The President went on to talk about the conversations the pair had about their homes and the politics of both of the countries. 

As he discussed the work done by the Ukrainian airforce he presented Sir Lindsay with the helmet from a real Ukrainian pilot.

The writing on the gift read ‘'We have freedom. Give us Wings to protect it'.

Zelensky ended by saying: “And I appeal to you, and the world, with simple and yet most important words: 'Combat aircraft for Ukraine - Wings for freedom'.”