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20 April 2022

Private tour and tickets for two families

Two Ukrainian refugee families were invited to Portman Road for a tour yesterday afternoon, before also receiving tickets to Town's fixture with Wigan Athletic in the evening.

The families, who were forced to flee the war in Ukraine earlier this month, had a private tour of the stadium which included a surprise appearance from the Club's mascot Bluey in the Blues' home dressing room.

Svitlana and her two sons Illia, eight, and Savelli, four, attended the tour and match. The family arrived in Ipswich earlier this month having fled from the city of Odessa.  

Eleven-year-old Oleg and his mum, who is also called Svitlana, arrived in Ipswich only last week from the city of Slovensk. 

After being surprised by Bluey, the group went out on to the Portman Road pitch for a kickabout and penalties in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

They then attended Town's 2-2 draw with Wigan that night, with complimentary tickets in the Club's Magnus Group West Stand and Junior Blues packs as gifts.

The visit was arranged along with Suffolk Refugee Support, a local charity who provide advice and practical support for asylum seekers and refugees in Suffolk.

Martin Simmonds, fundraising and communications officer at Suffolk Refugee Support, said: "The Ukrainian refugees arriving in Suffolk have been through so much, with their lives turned upside down, loved ones in danger back home and great uncertainty for the future.

"Alongside the practical support we are providing, we know that a warm community welcome will be vital in helping people to recover and rebuild, so we are very grateful to Ipswich Town Football Club and Amnesty International's Football Welcomes initiative for showing such generosity and giving these two families something to smile about again."

Svitlana, mother of Oleg, added: "We really enjoyed the tour and the match which was fast paced and had a great atmosphere - it was charged with emotion. Thank you so much to the community and Ipswich Town for inviting us and making us so welcome."


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