One of the first sights that people arriving at Stafford Railway Station will now see is the Ukrainian flag flying outside the town’s Victoria Park.
New leader of Stafford Borough Council, Aidan Godfrey, instructed the flag to be flown as a reminder of the “bravery of the Ukrainian people and the fight to protect their homeland.”
The row of flag poles on the doorstep of the award-winning park and next to the station displays some of the places across the world that Stafford has links with. And now the Ukrainian flag has been added to that row - to be seen by those taking the train from Stafford, or arriving at the county town station, from other parts of the country.
Russia invaded the country in February last year and the council previously had the town’s iconic Shire Hall building lit up in blue and yellow, and the flag of Ukraine displayed on the local authority’s website, as a mark of support.
The council, along with other public sector partners and voluntary organisations, welcomed refugees from the war-torn country via national initiatives such as the 'Ukraine Family Scheme’ and ‘Homes for Ukraine' - a scheme where individuals became sponsors for refugees who wished to come to the UK without having family ties here.
But Councillor Godfrey said he wanted to ensure people did not forget the ongoing conflict and the lives lost, and ruined, because of the ‘illegal invasion.’
He said: “We are proud to fly the flag of Ukraine, along with our twin town national flags, outside Stafford station. The flying of their national flag demonstrates our support for the people of Ukraine.
"This terrible illegal invasion must always be kept in the thoughts of the wider world - and this flag will remind us of the bravery of the Ukrainian people and their fight to protect their homeland."
Work is expected to get underway soon to enhance the entrance and approach to the train station and make it more accessible to visitors. The ‘Stafford Station Approach’ scheme is being paid for after a successful bid to the government by the borough council.
Press Release 6069