The lyrics of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” have been recited by Ukrainian people in a powerful film to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
The one-minute video released by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) shows the devastation unleashed by Vladimir Putin’s war, with millions unable to return to their homeland after being forced to flee.
It begins with a black screen and the caption: “Ukraine. February. 2023.” A cast of actors still living in Ukraine then recite lines from the anthemic Gerry and the Pacemakers song, over music by German-born British composer and pianist Max Richter.
A young boy, seen sitting on a swing in front of a hollow tower block, delivers the iconic line: “And don’t be afraid of the dark, at the end of a storm.”
The footage, shot this month, also shows a boy in a bomb shelter, a doctor in a hospital, a couple and a dog owner outside their homes, and a woman and child sitting on a bus.
Entitled “Never Alone”, it was made by a predominantly Ukrainian crew and directed using a remote camera.
Although the people featured in the film are actors, they represent real stories of people who have been helped by DEC charities.
The video ends with a black screen saying: “The UK raised over £400 million so the people of Ukraine didn’t walk alone” and images of aid workers who travelled to the country to offer help.
The DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised £414m since launching on 3 March 2022, including £25m donated by the government through the UK Aid Match scheme.
In the first six months of the response alone, aid delivered using DEC funds included (but was not limited to):
- 1.9 million people provided with access to clean water
- 392,000 people who received food assistance, including hot meals and food parcels
- 338,000 people who received cash payments to meet their basic needs
- 127,000 people who accessed basic services at transit centres for the displaced
- 71,000 people who accessed primary healthcare services
- 114,000 people who received legal help and support
- 10,000 people who were provided with temporary accommodation
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Film director Rick Dodds said: “This film is a time capsule of Ukraine in February 2023 – exactly one year since the conflict began.
“We cast Ukrainian people still living there – so that we could capture their resilience, their strength, and their Ukrainian stoicism for all to see.
“The poetic words of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ then took on a different power when delivered by this cast in such dramatic and real locations.
“For example, a woman stood outside her house that has been blown apart saying ‘though your dreams be tossed and blown’. Or a young boy in a bomb shelter saying ‘with hope in your heart’.”
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DEC director of fundraising and marketing, Simon Beresford, hailed the “incredible generosity” of the British public.
“We’re really proud of the fact that we could work with a Ukrainian cast and crew to make this film,” he said.
“Choosing to shoot it in Ukraine added layers of complication to the project, but we think has made it much more authentic and impactful.
“Everyone who worked on the film in Ukraine has been affected in some way by the conflict and their creative input has been invaluable to the project.”