Tremayne Hall Community Centre

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8 January 2017

Mylor's Ukranian chapel rededicated 60 years on

ON a summer's day in 1948 three Roman Catholic priests blessed a Nissan Hut chapel and memorial at a former prisoner of war camp near Mylor.

The chapel and memorial were built by Ukrainian refugees who had fled the communist regime in their country.

They had lived at the site along the road to Restronguet for a year, working on farms, and wanted to record their gratitude.

Now, 60 years on, a re-dedication has taken place with original refugees or their descendants among the 150 people attending.

This included Basil Jesynewycz, Hryhoviy Kowalczuk, Mike Halyk and Ostp Hladkinsky, who ran the camp.

The service was organised by Churches Together in Mylor and was followed by a faith lunch in the Tremayne Hall.

Peter Gilson of the Local History Archive Group put on a display of historic photographs.

The Rev Roger Nicholls, from St Mylor, introduced the service. There were prayers and hymns, Bible readings and an address by Canon Anthony Phillips.

Other contributors were Fr Jon and Sister Veronica from St Mary Immaculate, the Rev Peter Facer and Val Gale from the Methodist Church and Fr John Harris, the rural dean.

Dorrit Smith read a poignant letter from former camp secretary Michael Andrusiv and symbolic offerings were presented by grandchildren of the first Ukranians.

Violinists from Mylor Primary School played several pieces of music, including a Cossack dance.

The grand daughters of Dimintro Szewczuk, an original member of the camp who then lived in Penryn, played a laurel wreath at the cross in a re-enactment of what happened on its dedication day.

The Ukrainian flag was flown and its national anthem played.

Many of those who were descendants of the original workers, or who had Ukrainian connections, were deeply moved by the memories stirred.

Fedir Kurlak, chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain flew from Nottingham to be at the event.

In Ukrainian, he spoke of the tremendous kindness of local people towards the strangers in their midst. He said that the memorial was unique in the UK, having been put up by people involved at the time.

The cross is made of bricks and has another cross carved within it.

A plaque reads "This symbol of faith in God was erected by Ukrainians who, escaping from Russian Communists, found refuge in England. 7th June 1948".

The families had a strong Catholic faith and organised services in the makeshift chapel close to the hostel in which they lived.

Thanks were given to Barbara Baker, chairman of the St Mylor Worship and Welcome Group, for her organisation.

She said: "It makes me realise what a wonderful faith those men had because they were in a strange country, they had to find work and yet they found time to build themselves a chapel and put up this cross because their faith meant such a lot to them. That inspires me."

(West Briton, 12 June 2008)

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