Biggleswade's overwhelming show of solidarity for Ukrainians - including charity raffle for sunflower drawers

'As these difficult times continue in Ukraine, many residents can be proud of the efforts they've made'

By Joanna Gravett
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:46 pm

Biggleswade residents are showing overwhelming support for Ukrainian families whose lives have been devastated by the Russian invasion.

From stickers to building lights, shops and businesses have been representing the country's flag colours in solidarity, while The Upcycling Shed is holding a raffle to raise funds for The British Red Cross.

Meanwhile, pubs have been holding collections and donation drives, while some families have volunteered to take in refugees.

Special blue and yellow biscuits at Gunns Bakery, and right, the chest of drawers you could win in The Upcycle Shed's raffle. Photos: Cllr Fage and Ellie Mangold.

Cllr Grant Fage, Deputy Mayor of Biggleswade, told the Chronicle: "The gravity of the situation in Ukraine, unfolding over the last three weeks, has taken the world by surprise - the terrifying scenes of innocent civilians sheltering from military bombardments has upset us all.

"All thoughts are with those fighting fearlessly on the front line and with the women and children fleeing the conflict.

"Whilst the humanitarian effort is being largely co-ordinated by national governments and international charities, the efforts of those in Biggleswade and surrounding villages have not gone unnoticed at a local level.

"The town has seen collection efforts for clothes, toiletries, and sanitary products - notably by The Kings Reach Pub. The Rose pub has been selling merchandise to raise funds and there has been further widespread publicity for how residents can make donations directly to help Ukrainian families."

O'Sarracino lights up in blue and yellow to show solidarity. Photo: Cllr Fage.

Another business owner pouring their heart into helping is Ellie Mangold, owner of The Upcycle Shed, Langford.

Ellie is auctioning off a beautiful sunflower chest of drawers, will all profits going towards The British Red Cross.

Ellie said: "After the recent invasion of Ukraine and feeling very powerless, I very quickly wanted to do something to show my support, solidarity and to raise some money for The British Red Cross, who are providing emergency support and supplies to those affected in Ukraine.

"I have decided to raffle off a piece of my furniture that I have painted using the Ukraine national flag colours, and their national flower, the sunflower.

The Rose shows support for Ukraine, and right, Stairway flies the Ukrainian flag. Photos: Cllr Fage.

"I was blown away that in just the first 24 hours I had raised £300. This now stands at £585 on my JustGiving page, along with cash donations of over £100.

"I would love to get to £1000 and the raffle will be drawn on 28th March."

When war broke out in Ukraine Ellie "felt helpless", so spent a whole weekend preparing the chest of drawers, sanding it on the Saturday and painting it on the Sunday.

The raffle will either be done via a spreadsheet, or Ellie will pull names out of a hat.

She added: "Everyone's been really, really supportive and even if they chest of drawers isn't to their style, they have donated. It's been really lovely.

"Lots of people have been sharing and supporting it.

"The money will go towards The British Red Cross emergency appeal, getting water and medical supplies to the people of Ukraine. It's life-saving."

Cllr Fage added: "Biggleswade has already welcomed refugees in recent years, including those escaping war in the Middle East - Biggleswade is a generous community, and no doubt will embrace any newcomers with open arms.

"It's important to remember that Biggleswade is also home to those with Russian roots, all of whom will be equally dismayed by what they're seeing in Ukraine. It's vital that the community continues to understand the difficult position those residents are in and supports them through this tough time.

"Everyone hopes for a peaceful conclusion soon, but as these difficult times continue in Ukraine, many residents can be proud of the efforts they've made."

To enter Ellie Mangold's raffle, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the-upcycle-shedEllie is asking for a donation of £5, which will equal five entries to win the chest of drawers.