A woman from Cheshire has praised two schools after her niece and nephew from Ukraine were welcomed "with open arms".

Larisa Jones, who was born in Ukraine but has lived in Chester since 2002, flew to Budapest to bring Emilia (12) and Stanislav (7) back with her to the UK after her sister crossed the border from Ukraine to Hungary to get the children to safety.

The family were residents in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and had managed to leave the city moments after the first Russian invasion in the final week of February. The two children, like many others, had initially been woken in the early hours of the morning by the first explosions.

The children's parents, who are both medical professionals, felt they could not accompany the children, choosing instead to stay and try to help those injured by Russia's war.

Larisa said: "I applied to get the children to Britain so they can be safe and have some normality.

"It was heartbreaking to see a mother waving her seven-year-old and 12-year-old off and everyone holding back tears, but sadly it had to be done. My sister then returned to Ukraine."

Having contacted local schools prior to leaving for Budapest, The Queen's School on City Walls Road and Eccleston CE Primary School on Eaton Road agreed to help the children settle in.

"They arrived with a few days of term left and Stanislav kept asking why they could not start the schools now like all the other children.

"Both children counted the days to start schools and just do what all the other children did. Going to school every day definitely brought normality and structure in to their new life in Britain and most importantly they started to feel again they are just like all the other children in a peaceful country."

Larisa says both Emilia and Stanislav are now settling in well and beginning to make new friends, with the help and support of both schools meaning that they can begin to resume their childhood away from the horror and upheaval of war.

"I can not thank them enough for all the help they gave to me and the children. They both literally opened their doors and welcomed the children with open arms.

"The staff at both schools work really hard to help both children in every step they are making in this new life they found themselves in.

"They do get help with the language but they do feel part of a new school family, which is all we can ask.

"They have given an example to the children in their schools how to help each other in the time of need."