BORIS JOHNSON ONE OF THE VIP GUESTS AT POLISH INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION
UXBRIDGE MP and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Polish ambassador Arkady Rzegocki were among the attendees at a colourful celebration of 100 years of Polish independence held at Uxbridge Library on Friday.
They joined council leader Ray Puddifoot on a visit which also commemorated 250 years of diplomatic relations between Poland and the UK.
To mark the occasion the Ambassador presented the library with Polish language books on behalf of the Polish Book Institute and Cultural Institute.
The VIP guests joined children from nearby St Andrews Primary School for a workshop in which they made Polish flags, before viewing a new exhibition at the library detailing the crucial contribution of Polish airmen based in Hillingdon to the Allied victory in the Second World War.
Mr Johnson, said: “Poland has stuck with us through thick and thin, never more so than the heroic pilots in the Battle of Britain and our debt is absolutely incalculable.
“I am deeply deeply grateful to the Ambassador and the Polish people for all the solidarity they have shown, and continue to show – and we will reciprocate it for another 250 years.”
Mr Puddifoot added: “We are honoured and delighted that Poland’s ambassador chose to join our festivities and donate books to Hillingdon libraries. The Polish community in the UK has made a positive contribution for generations and it is a privilege to promote the best in Polish culture and national heritage to our residents.”
The weekend festival at the library included craft workshops for adults and children, lively folk dance demonstrations, traditional storytelling, a lecture on RAF Northolt’s No. 303 squadron by author Richard King, and the chance to sample some Polish food.
The timing of the festival coincided with Polish Heritage Day, which is held annually on the first weekend following Polish Constitution Day on May 3.
The Polish airmen exhibition continued at Uxbridge Library until Thursday May 10.
Poland was granted its independence for the second time in 1918 after the end of the First World War as part of the settlement drawn up in the Treaty of Versailles.
Poland has stuck with us through thick and thin and never more so than the heroic pilots in the Battle of Britain
(From left) Uxbridge MP Boris Johnson, Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot and Polish ambassador Arkady Rzegocki at the centenary celebrations of Polish independence