Ukrainian Youth Association Branch No.17 '30 June 1941' in Bradford
After the end of World War II, quite a large number of Ukrainians settled in England. Some of them settled in Bradford, where they immediately set about organising community and cultural life. In the first place, the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain was founded, followed by the Ukrainian Youth Association, which was formed by former CYM members, who had arrived form Germany.
The CYM Branch in Bradford was founded on 29th August 1948, with Stefan Nakonechnyj as its first chairman. It took the name of '30th June 1941 Branch' in commemoration of Ukraine's declaration of independence on that date.
Through the half century of its existence, the CYM branch has had a wide-ranging programme of activities, both at the level of CYM and within the life of the community. The CYM Branch set up and ran the various craft groups for such activities as embroidery, carving book-binding, Easter-egg decoration, etc. Its principal attention, however, was focused on the cultural and educational fields: concerts and commemorative meetings were held to mark Ukrainian national and other important dates.
Under the chairmanship of Pawlo Dzwinyk(1956-1958), a Junior Association was organised, which numbered, towards the end of that year, 28 youths. In the course of time, the Branch exceeded 200 people. The Association was divided into Patrols. Each patrol was assigned an instructor, who trained them on the basis of the "Manual Governing the Youth Programme within the Association." These young people took the 5 successive tests of Junior CYM up to the age of 18, after which they became Young Adults.
As part of the Association's activities, several amateur artistic groups were set up. The first of these was a dance ensemble, formed in 1958 under the direction of Petro Wasylyk. Under the chairmanship of Wolodymyr Parfaniuk (1958-1959), a string orchestra (initially all mandolins, later guitars were added) was formed under the direction of Jaroslaw Hawryliuk. This was the first Junior string orchestra of its kind, and proved very successful.
In 1959, a well-organised drama group was set up under the direction of Messrs W. Bukowskyj and M. Hryniszak. After only a short period of time, this group staged the play "Ivan Mazepa", with which they toured numerous Ukrainian communities.
In 1960, chess and table-tennis groups were formed and a sports team was set up. The same year, the Association launched its own newsletter, "Nash Druh"(Our Friend), with an editorial team led by Mr. M Mykolyshyn. This was extremely beneficial to the young members, giving them an insight into journalism.
In 1962, a wood-carving group was organized. This was initially run by V. Rybczyn, and later by Mr Panchak. An embroidery group was also formed, run by Mrs K. Jakowiw with the assistance of Mrs M. Salamacha.
In 1963, the dance group was reorganised, and took the name "Krylati" (The Winged Ones). The ballet-master and choreographer Ostap Buriak became its director. For many years, "Krylati" represented CYM in the UK at various arts festivals and the like. They went on two European tours, performing before both Ukrainian and foreign audiences. In England, they appeared several time on TV (in particular, "Opportunity Knocks"), and held many stage performances for English and other audiences. "Krylati" were invited several times to take part in the international Eisteddfod in Llangollen, and performed at Bradford's largest theatre, the Alhambra, for a week-long run. The string orchestra and the "Krylati" dance group also gave many concerts for Ukrainian audiences, and won numerous trophies for their artistic achievements, of which the CYM Branch in Bradford is very proud.
At present, around half of the young Ukrainians in Bradford belong to CYM-grand children of the original CYM members. As in the past, the Junior Association is divided into Patrols, which meet weekly for various activities run by its Young Adults.
The Branch also has various artistic groups, mainly dance ensembles, of Young Adults, Teenagers, Youth and children, all under the general name "Krylati."
There are also Teenage and Youth choirs. Poetic recital groups are also well developed, and traditional Ukrainian St Nicholas Day and Christmas ("Vertep") plays are also put on.
Traditionally, CYM provides a guard of honour for the symbolic 'shroud' of Christ, venerated in Ukrainian churches as part of the Good Friday/Holy Saturday ritual. Another Branch tradition is the annual commemoration of two important dates in Ukrainian history: the declaration of independence (Lviv, 30 June 1941) and the battle of Kruty (29 January 1918), during which 300 students were killed defending Kyiv against the Bolshevik invasion. The Branch also celebrates the feast of the patron saint of CYM, St Michael the Archangel.
As in the past, graded proficiency test are held annually. Sports activities are also well developed, particularly football.
The present membership of the CYM Branch is as follow:
Seniors - 15
Young Adults - 62
Teenagers - 23
Youths - 12
Children - 4
In the artistic field, special mention should be made of the ballet-master and choreographer, the late Ostap Buriak, who was active in the Branch from the end of 1962 until his death in 1995. He trained two young choreographers, Olha Stepovana and the late Mykhailo Diakiw, as his successors. Olha Stepovana runs the group.
In the musical field, we must mention the late Jaroslaw Hawryliak, who imparted considerable musical knowledge to the young CYM members. Currently, the musical and vocal groups are run by Maria Danylczuk.
In 1996, Bradford CYM founded a cappella of bandurists, under the direction of Vera Tymczyzyn. This is the only one of its kind in Great Britain.
In the educational field, we should mention Stepan Stepowanij, Hryhorij Melnyczyk and Mykhailo Zamulinskyj, who dedicated many years to working with our youth, and continue to give valuable assistance whenever the need arises.