Amanda Holden launches podcast with woman living in Ukraine carpark

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/06/11: Amanda Holden seen at Global Radio Studios in London. (Photo by James Warren/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Amanda Holden seen at Global Radio Studios in London in 2021 (James Warren/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Amanda Holden has launched a podcast about people living in the warzone in Ukraine after being contacted on Instagram by a woman camping in an underground carpark.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge revealed she had been moved to give a platform to those under siege by the Russian forces after Kateryna Danno contacted her on social media, telling her she has become stranded in the country because she had been on holiday when the war broke out.

Holden, 51, explained on Ukraine's Hidden Voices with Amanda Holden: "For me the hardest part has been seeing the devastating impact this is having on families.

"As a wife and a mum of two daughters seeing those families fighting to survive, pleading to TV news crews to help them, has been absolutely heart-breaking.

Read more: Rachel Riley and Russian husband stand in solidarity with Ukraine

"I have a voice, I'm heard every single day on Heart Breakfast. But I really wanted to give a platform to those people who don't have a voice. We can't just turn away, we need to listen to these people, to hear their stories and help wherever we can.

IRPIN, UKRAINE - MARCH 08: Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 08, 2022. (Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 08, 2022. (Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"The reason this whole thing started is a few days ago I received a message on my Instagram from a mum who's currently stuck in the middle of a warzone. Her son remains here in the UK but she is living in an underground carpark, trying to avoid the conflict that's taken place just metres above her head."

The actor and radio star introduced Danno, who revealed she is originally from Ukraine but has been living in London for 17 years where her son currently remains, separated from her.

Danno said: "I came to Ukraine for a holiday two weeks before the invasion... just to see my friends, spend time with family and just enjoy life.

"Everything was just perfect we were enjoying ourselves. The vibe was really peaceful and nobody actually believed these predictions regarding the invasion. Because the most painful thing about it is these are our brothers."

Amanda Holden attends the Britain's Got Talent 2020 photocall at the London Palladium on January 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Amanda Holden said as a mother she found the plight of those in Ukraine heartbreaking to see. (Getty Images) (Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images)

She went on: "The the war broke out and the bombs started falling on our cities and the shock and disbelief came to us.

"I rang my best friend, we went to some shops to get some basic food and then we went down to the parking lot which is underneath a shopping precinct and here we are staying for seven days, sleeping rough on the bare floor."

Danno revealed their first night in the carpark had been "terrible" as a rocket hit a neighbouring house, staring a fire, and conditions were chaotic.

Amanda Holden arrives at the Global Radio studio in London's Leicester Square
Amanda Holden presents a daily breakfast show on Heart Radio. (Getty Images)

She added: "Now we have this little community underground and we are supporting each other and we are looking after the children, they are playing, this is as normal as it can be."

Holden - mother to daughters Hollie, 16, and Lexi, 10 - previously admitted she was feeling "powerless" regarding the Ukraine crisis.

She added: "It’s heart-breaking to see truly innocent lives being lost in a place they saw as safe and their home."

And she added she was donating to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

Read more: Holly Willoughby in floods of tears again over plight of Ukrainian children

Russian President Vladimir Putin began the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, prompting thousands of Ukrainians to attempt to flee the country.

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