Liverpool is “doing Ukraine proud” by staging the Eurovision Song Contest, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said as he hosted a No 10 reception on Wednesday to mark the event.
The event came just days before the Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday, which the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine who won last year’s competition. UK entry Sam Ryder came second with the chart-topping single Space Man.
Guests were invited to wear sparkly clothing and gathered in a room adorned with the Ukrainian and Union Flags, with disco balls hanging on the Downing Street staircase.
The Prime Minister introduced Ruslana, Ukraine’s first Eurovision winner, who performed for attendees.
Sandie Shaw – the first British entry to win Eurovision in 1967 with the iconic hit track Puppet on a String – attended the event. Also joining the reception were representatives from the Eurovision cultural programme in Liverpool, Ukrainian artists, Points of Light winners and Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.
The Prime Minister presented a Points of Light Award to children’s authors Natalie Reeves Billing and Jude Lennon from Liverpool. They have delivered over 23,000 “Builder Book Boxes” across the city, featuring learning resources to help children develop reading and creativity skills.
Points of Light Awards recognise outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community.
The Government is supporting the delivery of Eurovision with £10 million in funding and almost 3,000 tickets have been made available for displaced Ukrainians. Big Screens will be set up at over key locations throughout the UK for people to watch the shows live.
Speaking ahead of the Eurovision Grand Final, the Prime Minister, said:
Liverpool is doing us all proud. And I think they’re doing Ukraine proud too.
It’s an honour for us to host Eurovision on behalf of our Ukrainian friends. It shows yet again that the British people will stand by them for as long as it takes.
As my friend President Zelenskyy says… one day this contest will be hosted in a victorious, free Ukraine.
Now that will be a party to remember!