Ukraine-born UK choir leader releases charity video to raise funds for refugees

'The Ukrainian spirit won't be broken,' says Christina Dmytryk Clark, who has friends and family in Kyiv

The conflict in Ukraine and offers of support prompted choirmaster Christina Dmytryk Clark to raise funds for suffering Ukrainians. Photo: AP

A Ukrainian-born choirmaster living in the UK has made a video to raise funds for refugees fleeing the conflict.

Christina Dmytryk Clark, who came to London with her family in 2000, has recorded a song with her choir, which is in Lincoln, northern England, to raise money for the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee to support people displaced by the war.

Ms Clark works for Rock Choir — the largest contemporary choir in the world, teaching in 400 locations across the UK — and has recorded a version of Christina Perri's A Thousand Years with her members.

She says the song is dedicated to the "brave" people of Ukraine.

"I found out about the war when my friends in the UK began sending me messages of support before I had chance to turn on the television," she said.

"It's obviously very real and I was just in shock. I was in denial and didn't want to believe it was happening.

"I have lots of friends and family in Ukraine; some have managed to escape to Poland. My cousin's son, instead of going to safety to Poland, has gone to Kyiv. He keeps telling us to be calm, and this is someone on the front line.

"The Ukrainian spirit won't be broken. We are losing so many innocent lives and it's incomprehensible."

The conflict and offers of support prompted her to raise funds to help.

Members all over the country have been collecting donations, clothes, pet food and lots of other items to help with the crisis.

The Disasters Emergency Committee raised £150 million ($196m) in the first week of its Ukraine appeal.

Firefighters at work on a building heavily damaged in a Russian rocket attack on Kharkiv, March 14. Photo: AFP

“We are in this for the long term, for families who have lost everything, whose homes have been bombed and livelihoods lost," said DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed.

"The destruction of vital infrastructure such as hospitals, as well as causing terrible suffering now, painfully demonstrates the lasting impact that this conflict will have and just why so many people are fleeing.

"We’re incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support that we’ve seen from the British public that will allow DEC charities to help now and be there to rebuild lives in the months and years to come."

On Monday, Britain revealed it has now granted more than 3,000 visas to Ukrainians fleeing the war.

The UK government has also unveiled details of its Homes for Ukraine scheme, which will pay households who offer sanctuary to Ukrainians £350 a month.

About 2.7 million people have left Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, according the UN refugee agency.

Updated: March 14, 2022, 4:27 PM