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An Ashton resident has turned 101 years old and received heartwarming support from the local community

Jaroslaw Wenger was born on February 25, 1923, in Ukraine, before ending up in a British prisoner of war camp in Scotland and settling down here in the UK.

Through the storytelling in his memoir ‘The Winding Path’, he addresses the many ups and downs of his life - from being forced out of his village into the German Baudienst (building service) to joining the Ukrainian Division and ending up here in the UK. Hunger, bitter cold and flea-ridden beds were mild endurances compared to the horrors he experienced.

His book is a gripping first-hand narrative of what life was really like to be a young Ukrainian solider during World War Two.

Russia invaded Ukraine the day after Jaroslaw’s 99th birthday. He shared that his wish is to live long enough to see this war end and see the Russian aggressor driven out of Ukraine once and for all.

Jaroslaw, who now resides at Hurst Hall Care Centre, lived to see independence in 1991 and even got the opportunity to go back to his homeland to see the village he had left many years prior.

He said he didn’t think he would ever see a war in the country again and is extremely saddened by this, but would ‘like to see the end of it’ during his lifetime.

Jaroslaw Wenger is the eldest member of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).

Despite only having lived at the care centre for a matter of months, the staff described Jaroslaw as ‘an amazing man’ who had ‘settled in so well’.

Jaroslaw had special guests celebrate his birthday with him, Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Tafheen Sharif was in attendance as well as Jaro’s family and friends. The room was decorated in birthday decorations and memorabilia from Jaro’s younger years.

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