Belarus flag flying high at Beccles school

Olya and Masha from Belarus with school headteacher Jeremy Rowe

Olya and Masha from Belarus with school headteacher Jeremy Rowe - Credit: Archant

Olya and Masha, two girls from Belarus, paid a visit to Sir John Leman High School at Beccles to see their country’s flag flying from the school flagpole.

The girls are in East Anglia as part of a visit organised by the Chernobyl Children’s Lifline (CCLL).

Olya and Masha found their visit to Sir John Leman High School very interesting. In Belarus children start school on September 1 after their 6th Birthday.

Due to a lack of schools the children are taught in two shifts: 8am until 2pm or 2pm until 8 pm, six days a week.

Before taking lunch with Mr Rowe, the girls looked into the classrooms where lessons were underway and afterwards they looked around the playing fields.

The school has impressive facilities and Mr Rowe explained about the further upgrading and improvement works taking place.

The girls, aged 9 and 10 years old, are staying with their host family Alison and Mark Stannard in Hales for the whole month of July. They have come to the UK with the Mid-Suffolk Link of the CCLL.

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The programme brings children from Belarus and Ukraine to the UK for health respite breaks. These children live in areas of Belarus still affected by the radiation fallout after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.

They come to the UK for four weeks respite to help boost their immune system which in turn improves their health and resistance to the cancers and neurological diseases that can affect so many of these children having to live in levels of radioactivity that are far higher than would be acceptable in the western world.

All of the children come from families that cannot afford to send their children abroad for health recuperation.

Mr and Mrs Stannard have set up a local Chet and Waveney Link of the CCLL and will be bringing 10 children to Beccles and Loddon in July next year

The Chet and Waveney Link must have the support of a local optician and dentist in the Beccles or Loddon areas to provide essential treatment for the children in 2015.

The dentist who provides this service for the Mid Suffolk Link is happy to speak to anyone interested in helping, to give an outline of what to expect and how much treatment is generally needed.

The Chet and Waveney Link also has need of volunteers to help with the arrangements for the children next year and also to be Host families for their stay.

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer or Host family you can contact Alison Stannard, Link Chair by telephone on 01508 549047 and by email at

As the cost of bringing each child, covering air fares, visas, interpreters etc. is in the region of £650.00 the Chet and Waveney Link needs support with fund raising. Any amount raised, no matter how small, will be gratefully received. Collecting tins, posters and other informative literature are available.

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