Music festival will bring hope to Ukrainian war victim

A FESTIVAL of accordion music in Thornbury will raise money for a young Ukrainian boy who was badly injured in a Russian missile attack.

Roman Oleksiv, who is seven years old, suffered severe burns in the bombing, which killed his mother Galyna.

His father Yaroslav (pictured above with Roman) is a professional musician and composer, who met Andy Coles, from Downend, online during the pandemic, when they both served on international juries for world accordion championships.

Roman was left disfigured and unable to walk unassisted by the Russian attack on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia in July last year, which killed at least 23 people.

Andy said: “We all know about the atrocities in Ukraine, but for me it’s personal.

“It was estimated that 45% of Roman’s body was covered in external burns and that another 35% of his body was burned internally. Can you imagine?

“Young Roman still wears a face mask because of the burns, but against all predictions is starting to walk again.

“Yaroslav remains in Ukraine with his son, who continues to recover.”   

Andy is dedicating any money raised at the South/South West Accordion Festival, the local area festival held on behalf of the National Accordion Organisation, to helping Roman and others.

The charity event will take place at Europa House, Midland Way, in Thornbury, all day on Sunday June 11.

Andy Coles

Entry is free, but Andy is asking anyone who comes along to make a donations, either in cash or via website JustGiving.

His employer MotorCycle Direct has made the venue available free to maximise the money raised.

Andy said: “Our first priority is to help Roman. 

“Depending on the amount raised, the accordion fraternity has many contacts in Ukraine who would also benefit.”

The event starts with a short local accordion competition from around noon, with solos, duets and an orchestra.

In the afternoon there will be a concert with a range of different musical styles, with a choir, accordion orchestra and soloists, a steel band and others, including some traditional Ukrainian musicians.

It is the first regional event for the National Accordion Organisation of the UK since the start of the pandemic.

Free parking is available for about 100 cars at the venue, and refreshments will be available, with all profits going to the appeal.

Donations to help Roman can be made at

For more information, contact Andy at