'This is why we exist': Chernobyl children get break from nuclear zone with Beccles visit
PUBLISHED: 10:47 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 11 July 2019
Children living in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster had a taste of English life as they visited Beccles.
Since 2014, Chet and Waveney Link of Chernobyl Children's Life Line (CCLL) has brought small groups of children from Belarus to live with local host families.
Its main objective is to offer the children a break from the toxic radiation in Belarus and give them a taste of an "ordinary family life" in England.
According to Alison Stannard from the CCLL, one million children continue to live in contaminated areas of Belarus and Ukraine and 85pc of children in Belarus carry genetic markers that could affect their health or be passed on to next generation - It will take 400 years for Belarus to be relatively clean of the radiation,
Mrs Stannard said: "This is why Chernobyl Children's Life Line exists. To give the children of Belarus and Ukraine a month-long health break from the radiation that is everywhere in their environment.
"Experience shows that a month away from the harmful radiation will give their damaged immune systems a chance to recover," she said.
Six host families took on 10 children, aged nine and 10, to provide them a health break, to drink clean water, eat fresh food and breathe uncontaminated air.
The visit, which costs around £750 for each child, was fully funded by Ian Willis, staff and customers of the Butcher's Arms in Beccles and individual donations.
While they were here, the children attended a day centre at The Hollies in Loddon, soaked up the local attractions, visited Sea Life and Crazy Bananas circus skills.
"The children arrived with rucksacks containing a few clothes and gifts for their Hosts and left with 25 kilos of luggage including a school uniform and school shoes and home remedies and vitamins to take home for their families.
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"While they were here the children visited the Observatory Optician in Beccles where all received a sight test and five children were given spectacles. They also visited John Plummer and Associates dental practice in Caister for dental checks and treatment," she said.