Mum who fled Ukraine while seven months pregnant welcomes baby boy in Middlesbrough

Baby Nazar is thought to be the first baby born in Middlesbrough to Ukrainian refugees. Credit: Middlesbrough Council

A Ukrainian family which fled the war while the mother was seven months pregnant has welcomed a baby boy in Middlesbrough.

Nazar was born to parents Iryna and Artem at midday on Thursday 18 August, almost six months after the Russian invasion in February.

Middlesbrough Council said baby Nazar is the first child to be born in the town to Ukrainian refugees.

The couple fled their war-torn home in the Donetsk region in the east of the country at the end of July with six-year-old daughter Milana.

Iryna, 36, was already seven months pregnant when they embarked on the 1,500-mile journey to the North East, while 40-year-old Artem was in need of emergency treatment for a medical condition.

Arriving in Middlesbrough, the family was sponsored by Neville Kelvey-Brown of Jubilee Church, in Yarm Road.

Iryna said: “I am so grateful to God that my family is safe now.

"I can’t even describe the help and care we have received from Neville and his church on a daily basis.

"From the moment when Neville picked us up from the airport, to dealing with my daughter’s school, finding a GP and midwife and a hundred other tasks, he has always been there for us.

"It was especially kind of Jubilee Church to organise a baby shower for us as we literally had nothing for our baby, and we’re so grateful to every member of the church for donating all the essential things that our son will need.

“I also want to say a huge thank you to the UK Government for helping Ukrainian people in this unprecedented circumstances of sorrow, God bless you all."

Parents Iryna and Artem with daughter Milana and baby Nazar. Credit: Middlesbrough Council

Neville said links between Jubilee Church and several churches in Ukraine helped to match potential refugees with new homes on Teesside.

He said: “I saw the refugees leaving Ukraine, and I just thought ‘I can do something to help here’.

"I developed a good relationship by text with Artem and Iryna over the six-week period when they were trying to get from the Donbas to the UK.

"They’ve come from a place that was very scary, where their town has been taken over by Russians.

“They’re a lovely couple who share things with me around the house, and I’m just happy to be able to help.

"They’re going to be with me for six months to a year – at the moment they don’t know what the future holds, but with a young family they just want to be somewhere safe.”

The town has so far offered homes to more than 30 families and individuals following the invasion.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “From the very moment Russia sent its tanks into Ukraine, we pledged to do everything in our power to support those affected by this act of unprovoked aggression.

"We’ve been delighted to welcome individuals and families into our homes and communities, and it’s amazing that one of those families should welcome a new member here in Middlesbrough.

“A huge Boro welcome to baby Nazar, and we wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

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