A UKRAINIAN family fleeing the Russian invasion will be rehomed in the grounds of a Chepstow primary school - if their journey through British bureaucracy goes favourably.

Lilya Onopa and her family of six boys - aged between six and 14 - used to live in the city of Dnipro.

However, following the Russian invasion the family were forced to flee.

Ms Onopa's travel plans have been made more difficult by the ever-changing situation in Ukraine.

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Her intention was to go via train and bus to Bucharest via the port city of Odessa - but the Russian bombing of the city put paid to that.

That's where a group of kindhearted Chepstow fundraisers came in - funding a taxi from Dnipro to Bucharest in Romania.

"The family have just arrived in Bucharest where they will present themselves to the British Embassy to authenticate their online applications, before traveling on to Chepstow," said Louise Bennett on behalf of St Mary’s RC Primary School’s Ukrainian Refugee Appeal.

"Then they sit and wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to spin.

"Only when their visas are approved can we look at flying them to the UK.

"Let us pray for a safe journey for all of them."


The eventual plan is to relocate Ms Onopa and her children to a newly refurbished bungalow in the grounds of St Mary's RC Primary in Chepstow.

Over the past four weeks, school governors, PTA and parishioners have joined forces to refurbish the bungalow.

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The school says it has all the facilities needed to help children adapt to the change in moving to Chepstow, as well as staff trained in helping children through trauma.

Head of St Mary’s, Rosie Cerqua said: "We are preparing to welcome any children requiring a school place into our school family.

"Our pupils are looking forward to making new friends, and as staff we have planned additional training, to be able to support the children who come to us."

Golf days organised by St Pierre Seniors and St Pierre Men’s Golf Clubs, on Saturday, April 2, also raised £1,819 for the cause.

Alan Beach, President of St Pierre Golf Club said: "All of us have been moved by the crisis in Ukraine, and it is difficult for us to know how we can make a difference.

"The golf days were a small way of us fundraising to support the work that is being done at St Mary’s."