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New children's book raises funds for Ukraine

Ahata felt at home with the family's dogs.

A new children’s book by retired Rochdale head teacher Yvonne Weatherhead MBE has been published to help raise money for children affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Based on true events, ‘No Mission Impossible’ tells the story of ‘Flying Grandma’, a character based on Yvonne who sets off on a mission to try and find a home in the UK for a Ukrainian family after receiving a message through a magical everlasting bluebell from seven-year-old Ahata, who along with her family had fled Ukraine after it was invaded by Russian forces.

After much searching, Flying Grandma finds mum, dad, and Ahata a loving home with real-life Rochdale residents Lee and Angela Wardle in the idyllic local countryside.

The book highlights the selflessness of many British people who opened their homes through the government’s Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, with Ukrainian families finding refuge with host families, many still staying to this day.

Lee, an enforcement officer at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It was a privilege to welcome Ahata and her parents into our home to offer them a safe and welcome environment and allow Ahata to continue her education at a local school. We thoroughly enjoyed showing them where we live and are now lifelong friends.

“The local support network for Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been greatly appreciated and our hopes and best wishes have been sent with them on their return to Poland.”

The book was officially launched at St Luke’s CE Primary School, Heywood, bringing together schools from across the borough and further afield to participate in a creative and heart-warming assembly and re-enactment of the book, led by Yvonne and watched by families from Ukraine.

Students from Meanwood Community Primary School, St Luke's CE Primary, and St Andrew’s C of E Primary School have also potted sunflower seeds and bluebells at Denehurst Park and Queen's Park, with help from Rochdale in Bloom and The Friends of Denehurst Park.

The yellow colour of the national flower of Ukraine signifies friendship, while the bluebells that feature in all the Flying Grandma books are a symbol of humility and everlasting love.

Every child taking part in the project received a free copy of the book, which has been funded via the council’s Rochdale North Township committee through Spotland and Falinge ward councillors.

Books are available to students within the borough and all donations received goes towards helping children of Ukraine affected by the invasion with over £1,400 being raised so far.

A copy of the book can be purchased at https://weatherhead-projects.co.uk

Anyone can still donate to the Ukraine appeal, through Rochdale's Giving Back Charity. Further details can be found at: rochdale.gov.uk/council/rochdale-giving-back

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