Polish Heritage Days event in Blackpool next month is open to all

Polish residents in Blackpool are staging a heritage day next month and hope to reach out to the wider community with the event.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 6:30 pm

Organisers want the event to forge closer links within Blackpool’s broader community, celebrate Polish culture and help step up their assistance to Ukraine’s beleaguered refugees following the invasion of their country by Russian forces.

Blackpool’s links with Poland goes back to the Second World War when the town became a home for many Polish pilots who formed up Squadron 303.

One in five airmen in the Battle of Britain were Polish and Squadron 303 played a key part in that campaign.

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Dariusz Bigaj (left), Daniela Tyliszczak and Marcin Kubasinski are among the organisers of the Polish Heritage Days event in Blackpool.

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After the conflict ended in 1945, a sizeable number of those based in Blackpool decided to settle in the resort and they set up a Polish centre, known as the Eagle Club, which for decades was based on Hornby Road.

Although there are few of those servicemen still alive, new generations of Polish people have come to live and work in the resort and there are several thousand who have made Blackpool their home.

Some of these residents are organising the Polish Heritage Days event, which is due to be staged at St John Vianney Parish Centre, on Saturday, May 14, between noon and 6pm, to which everyone is invited.

Volunteers for Blackpool Polish Community pack items for Ukrainian refugees.

Daniela Tyliszczak, 24, of Grange Park, is one of the organisers via Blackpool Polish Community, a non-profit organisation.

She said: “Our goal is to support local communities and integrate Polish culture.

"We have decided to broaden our horizon and start working on a bigger scale this year and our Heritage Days will be dedicated to help Ukrainian refugees even further, all the money we collect will be used to continue our ongoing support.

"I have lived in Blackpool since I came here with my family 10 years ago and this is my home, I think the community spirit in Blackpool is great.

"Some people may try and look down on this town, but I never will.”

The event will include several aspects of Polish culture such as entertainment and refreshments, as well as a giant raffle.

Before this main event, there will be a commemorative gathering at Layton Cemetery from 11am, to pay tribute to Poland’s fallen heroes.

Among those attending will be representatives of the Polish Consulate in Manchester and the incoming Mayor of Blackpool, Coun Kath Benson, who aptly represents Layton.

Daniela added: “Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, our group have managed to send out two lorries with over 46 tonnes of humanitarian help into Ukraine and donate over £900.

“We purchased buses and other forms of transport, which are being driven every day to evacuate people from Lviv to the green border in Poland, particularly the critically injured.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to Heyhouses Endowed Church of England Primary School, Bridge Over Borders, Polish Independent and Blackpool Care and Share for

supporting us and believing in us.”

For further information or if anyone wants to donate raffle prizes, visit the Blackpool Polish Community page on Facebook.