'I can't believe it' - Tears for Ukraine as hundreds gather in Winchester to show their support

ITV Meridian's Christine Alsford attended the vigil.


A vigil for the peoples of Ukraine was held in Winchester this evening (Tuesday 1 March), with attendees calling for peace in Europe.

The gathering, organised by Winchester City of Sanctuary and Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group, was held in Abbey Gardens at the centre of the city.

Hundreds of people turned up to the event, holding banners, Ukrainian flags and candles, to hear speeches from religious and community leaders.

After each speech a round of applause was given, to show support for the peoples of Ukraine.

The vigil was held in Winchester as the city moves to become one of sanctuary for those in need, a place where refugees could call home.


William Brook-Hart, Southampton and Winchester Volunteers Group.


Those who attended want the government to create a safe route for Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their country, and to pursue further avenues for peace.

Maggie Roberts, who attended with her brother, said she couldn't believe the situation in Ukraine.

"It takes me back to the second world war when I was a child, not far from here.

"And what is going on now...I can't believe it, I can't believe it, I can't believe it" she said, holding back tears.

"I find it appalling. But, you know - it [the second world war] is nothing compared to what is going on now.

"I wish there was someway we could help them.

"It is impossible to believe this is happening. And so quick."


Maggie Roberts.


However, earlier today the UK has widened its immigration scheme for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Boris Johnson said Britain could accept 200,000 or more refugees after extending the policy for Ukrainians with immediately family in the UK to include adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings.

And a separate scheme will allow individuals and organisations to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK, even if they do not have immediate family settled in Britain.


Hundreds turned out in the city to support Ukrainians.


For others in attendance, being at this vigil was their way of show they support the plight of the people of Ukraine.

Many said they were appalled by the actions of Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, and the situation he has put everyday people in Ukraine.

One attendee said she was 'so upset'.

"I'm absolutely devastated for the people of Ukraine. Coming here is such a small thing, but important.

"I think about everyone that has lost their lives, their homes and their families, as well as the struggles they're going through."

The vigil, for them, was there way of standing strong in solidarity with Ukrainians worldwide, and showing that Winchester is a city of sanctuary.


Attendees said they stood in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.