The Duchess of Edinburgh was a special guest as The Lighthouse in Woking hosted a Christmas party for more than 200 Ukrainian refugees.

A joyous event included music from the Ukrainian band Atmasfera, a visit from Sviatyij Mykolai (Saint Nicholas), a Ukrainian puppeteer and plenty of food, games, pampering and treats.

As the charity’s patron, the Duchess was there to volunteer and meet some of the refugees. 

She joined in the festivities, serving lunch while the Ukrainian refugee choir Kalyna – formed in The Lighthouse Ukrainian hub – sang Christmas carols for all the guests.

Irina Garmash-Creeger, who heads the refugee hub team, said: “It was wonderful to see families who are parted from loved ones experience a taste of home and festivity.

“We wanted to celebrate their resilience and courage at this time of year, and seeing the children smiling and laughing was fantastic.”

The Lighthouse is an inspirational example of the power of volunteering, where local people come together to support and make life better for those around them. 

The Duchess has volunteered at The Lighthouse several times over recent years.

The charity’s co-founder Rebecca Jespersen said: “This has been a very special day, working together to bring some light and joy at a time that is so distressing for displaced refugees who are far from their loved ones at home.”

The Lighthouse has been supporting around 4,000 local people this year. 

Its Christmas Kindness appeal included food hampers, toy vouchers for children, winter-warming items, clothing, toiletries, a meal on Christmas Day, plus much more.

For more details about the charity, including its refugee support hub, visit