Ranvir Singh appeared moved during her hosting stint on ITV’s Lorraine on Monday as she heard the story of a Ukrainian family who were forced to flee the war-torn country. The Good Morning Britain presenter is stepping in for Lorraine Kelly on her self-titled ITV show this week as the usual host takes her annual Easter break.
During today’s show (April 4) Ranvir spoke to mum-of-three Natalie who has taken in mother and son, Christina and Sasha, into her Somerset home after they fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. Sasha’s dad has remained in the country.
Krystyna and Sasha joined Natalie and her children live on the program via video link from their new, safe, home. Before the interview began, a clip of how Natalie had been transforming her home from her ready for their guests’ arrival.
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This included turning their kids playroom into a living room for Krystyna with Natalia explaining the local community had been offering to help. It also showed the moment Natalie heading to the airport to meet Krystyna and Sasha for the first time, sharing a tearful hug with them both before clips of them settling in to their new life.
As the show returned to Ranvir in the studio, the 44-year-old mum said: “Wowza, tears are pricking up in the back of my eyes,” before composing herself and continuing: “But my word, what’s happened over the weekend will touch everyone whose watching, as all of us have known about this scheme, have thought about it and hundreds of thousands of people have tried to do it.
While the process was tricky, with layer Natalie even finding the relevant forms that had to be filled in difficult to navigate, she explained: “Once I’d found Krystyna and chatted to her on social media, I knew that there was an instant connection and an instant bond, and that her and Sasha would fit into our family dynamic really well.”
After filling out the visa application it took five days before it was confirmed that Sasha and Krystyna were able to join Natalie and her family in Somerset. And Krystyna, who was helped in the interview by translator Zoya, spoke emotionally about the ‘overwhelming’ response and kindness shown by the British people.
“When she [Krystyna] saw Natalie’s photo with kids, her heart knew instantly that that was the person she can have instant connection with,” Zoya translated for Krystyna.
Natalie then grabbed Krystyna’s hand and the pair shared a knowing smile before Natalie wiped tears from her eyes. “Natalie, that is so amazing to her,” Ranvir said before asking about how they’ll communicate.
“Krystyna told me she couldn’t speak any English and that car journey down was really interesting,” Natalie said. “We had a really good chat but we also use Google Translate and I’ve got this dictation machine which the boys have enjoyed using to communicate with one another.”
Natalie has been able to get Krystyna, who is a pastry chef, a job and Sasha to look around at a school. Ranvir then asked Natalie’s young son Oscar about their new guests and why it was important. “It feels great to have Sasha over,” he said. “I now have someone to play with. My sister’s don’t play with me that much and it’s just great to be saving people from wars. It feels good.”
Krystyna was also reduced to tears leaving Ranvir also taken aback. “SO much sadness behind those smiles and those tears of relief I imagine this morning,” the host said.
Taking a breath after thanking her guests, Ranvir said: “That’s what happens isn’t it when you work hard and try to put your best foot forward. Keep going.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.