Jack Savoretti: Ukrainian refugees meet singer after gig

By Paul O'Hare
BBC Scotland

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Image source, Clément Lauchard
Image caption,
Jack Savoretti met Jacquie Clayton and Svitlana and Yulia Derkach after his gig at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Tuesday

Two sisters who are living in Edinburgh under the Homes for Ukraine scheme have met singer Jack Savoretti after he was moved by their plight.

Svitlana and Yulia Derkach were invited backstage by the songwriter as they attended his gig at the Usher Hall with their hosts, Jacquie and Colin Clayton.

Savoretti contacted the family after he read their story on the BBC Scotland news website.

Ms Clayton said he gave them an unforgettable night.

"Jack and his team were just wonderful and really hospitable," she said. "He was a true gentleman and very empathetic towards the girls.

"It was such a welcome change from what they have endured over the last few months and I am sure they will remember it always."

Svitlana, 25, said: "The concert was really moving. "It was heartbreaking for me because Jack dedicated a song to Ukraine. It was very emotional."

Image source, Clément Lauchard
Image caption,
Savoretti dedicated a song to the people of Ukraine

The sisters are originally from Zhytomyr, a city about 120km (75 miles) west of Kyiv.

They were both based in the Ukrainian capital when the Russian invasion was launched on 24 February.

But their parents stayed behind to look after elderly relatives despite the region coming under heavy bombardment.

Ms Clayton was moved to sign up for the Homes for Ukraine scheme after she travelled to Krakow to help out in a soup kitchen as the humanitarian crisis unfolded.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
School buildings and key infrastructure in the Zhytomyr region have been hit by rocket strikes

On 27 March Svitlana and Yulia, 18, arrived in Scotland to stay with Ms Clayton and her husband.

Last week BBC Scotland told how Svitlana was working as a paralegal when Russia launched the invasion that she never imagined was possible.

She said: "It was really a shock to wake up from my father's call at 5am to say: 'The war has started. Pack your things and get out of the city'.

"It was really hard to stay in Kyiv and very dangerous."

Image source, Derkach family
Image caption,
Svitlana and Yulia Derkach with their parents in Ukraine

Yulia was studying geography and English at a university in Kyiv when the conflict started.

She admitted the experience of moving to a new country at a time of great uncertainty in her homeland had been stressful.

But she added: "The moment I saw our sponsors I felt really relieved because they met us with such warmth and love and I did not expect this."

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