Singer from Ukraine fighting on frontline features at fundraiser in Skegness

A singer from the Ukraine who put down her music to take up arms and fight for her country will feature at a fundraising concert in Skegness.

Ira Lobanok, 21, has been keeping in touch with a former European tour manager, who is now back in Skegness raising money by organising live music events locally to help refugees displaced because of the conflict with Russia.

"She should be doing gigs but instead she is fighting for her country," said Ian Russell, who is organising the event at the Seaview pub tonight (Friday). "Because she is female she could have left the Ukraine but she chose to learn how to fire a rifle and is staying to fight for her country."

Ian, who ran Scorpio Promotions organising tours for up-and-coming bands mainly in Germany before the Covid-19 pandemic, knows all too well what it is like to be left with nothing.

Ian Russell is organising fundraisers to help refugees from Ukraine, including a live gig at the Seaview pub in Skegness.

He managed to get back to Skegness before total lockdown, but with just £50 in his pocket ended up spending months living in a tent on the beach.

Now living in supported accommodation, he says he is raising money for the refugees as a way of saying thank you for the help he received when he needed it most.

"People call me a hero but I'm not," he said. "What I went through is nothing like what the refugees are facing."

The main charity Ian is supporting is the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal DEC. He is also supporting Fluchtlingshilfe UKRAINE.

Singer Ira Lobanok, 21, could have left the Ukraine but chose to stay and fight.

"I chose these charities because people can see where the money is going," explained Ian. "I have some lovely stories where we have helped refugees escape Ukraine.

"We have offered to help Ira but all she asks is we raise money to help the refugees and spread the word about what is happening in the country."

The gig at the Seaview Pub on North Parade tonight (Friday) features local band Reverley as well as a recording of Ira performing in the Ukraine before the conflict. One of the cover songs she performs is Adele's 'Hello from the Other Side'.

There is another fundraiser which is a David Bowie tribute at the Vine Hotel in Chapel St Leonards on Saturday, starting at 7pm.

Ira should be performing but in two weeks her life changed.

On Friday, April 22, Artisan Coffee Design is hosting an evening of family entertainment including a magician and food, starting at 6pm. There will also be an auction of art.