Ukrainian refugee joins Romford ice skating event which raises £5,000

Polina Gelun at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Polina Gelun, 11 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

A 10-year-old Ukrainian refugee joined about 100 youngsters on the ice rink in Romford to raise thousands of pounds to help those affected by the war in Europe. 

The Skate for Ukraine event at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on May 21, saw a disco, sponsored skate, figure skating competition, tombola and raffle raise £5,000 for Poland Welcomes.

Lee Valley Skate Club performing at the Skate for Ukraine event in Romford

Lee Valley Skate Club performing at the Skate for Ukraine event - Credit: Sandra Rowse

This charity was set up by Kamil Prusinowski and Patrycjusz Gawel at the beginning of the Russian invasion and has helped more than 500 Ukrainian people in three months.

Director of communications Neil Midgley said the idea came about because he is learning to skate with Maggie Barrow at the centre.

He said it went "really well": "A big thank you from the charity because when we are in Poland, it can feel like we are very much working against the odds and when people internationally connect with us and raise money for us, it helps to show the volunteers in Poland and our Ukrainian refugees that people in other countries are thinking of them.

"It's not just the money, it's the sense of community."

Oleksii Pluita, a 10-year-old budding ice skater who fled Ukraine, joined the event and competed in the Hop, Skip and Jump figure skating competition. 

Oleksii Pluita at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Oleksii Pluita, a refugee from Ukraine, performed for the event - Credit: Sandra Rowse

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Neil said the centre is giving the youngster free time on the rink to practice his skills. 

Find out more about Poland Welcomes at www.polandwelcomes.org or donate at www.gofundme.com/f/skateforukraine 

Lee Valley Skate Club at the Skate for Ukraine event in Romford

Lee Valley Skate Club at the Skate for Ukraine event - Credit: Sandra Rowse

MARIA ZENCHENKO 14POLINA VASYLYEVA 14

Maria Zenchenko and Polina Vasylyeva, both 14 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Polina Gelun, 11, and Oleksii Pluita, 10 at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Polina Gelun, 11, and Oleksii Pluita, 10 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Maria Zenchenko at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Maria Zenchenko, 14 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Polina Vasylyeva at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Polina Vasylyeva, 14 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Winners of the Hop, Sip and Jump figure skating competition at the Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Winners of the Hop, Skip and Jump figure skating competition - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Maria Zenchenko, Polina Vasylyeva, Polina Gelun, and Oleksii Pluita at Romford's Skate for Ukraine event

Maria Zenchenko,14; Polina Vasylyeva, 14; Polina Gelun, 11; and Oleksii Pluita, 10 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Oleksii Pluita with his coach John Wicker at Romford Skate for Ukraine event

Oleksii with his coach John Wicker - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Louis Gregory and Tallulah Bower at Romford's Skate for Ukraine event

Louis Gregory, 16, and Tallulah Bowers, 15 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

The Skate for Ukraine event was held in Romford at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre

The Skate for Ukraine event was held in Romford - Credit: Sandra Rowse