April 6, 2022 10.30 am

Lincolnshire country house owners welcome Ukrainian refugees

“The first thing they wanted to do was hug me”

Jonathan Hoare who runs Rauceby Hall near Sleaford with his partner Emma said “the first thing they wanted to do was hug me” after welcoming a Ukrainian mother and son into his country house.

Jonathan founded the Host Ukrainian Refugees Lincolnshire Network (HURL), which is a voluntary group of people wishing to host refugee families Lincolnshire who are fleeing the Russian invasion of their native Ukraine. It hopes to work with local Ukrainian groups to assist families with moral support and integration whilst building a network of other agencies to help them transition to life in the UK.

It took 17-year-old Borys and his mum Maria seven days to reach the safety of Jonathan and Emma’s house, after leaving behind their own home and family members in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

Jonathan told BBC Look North: “We’d had a few video chats but the first thing they wanted to do was hug me.”

He added: “We have another family of six arriving, a grandmother of 62, a 37-year-old mother with four children, 3, 5, 10 and 15. They are waiting for their visas to come through, it really shouldn’t be taking this long really, they’ve been through enough these people.

“Maria has left her husband behind, she’s left her sister behind who’s got a partner, that must be a constant worry every day that they’re okay, nobody should have to leave their homeland.”

The government has put emergency support in place for people fleeing Ukraine and entering the UK with their pets – read more information here.