Children of Chernobyl set for first trip to Loddon
- Credit: James Bass
Final preparations are under way to host a group of children who live in areas affected by the radioactive fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL) – Chet and Waveney Link has arranged for seven children aged nine and 10 to enjoy a month’s holiday in the region, taking part in organised trips and living with a host family.
David, Victorya, Vialetta, Margarita, Sviatlana, Valeria and Angelina all attend the same village school in the Gantsevichi District of the Brest region of Belarus.
They will be travelling with their teacher and interpreter Sviatlana Chyzhyk and are due to arrive in Beccles on June 7, staying with families in Beccles, Lowestoft, Hales and Norwich.
Alison Stannard, from Hales, who set up the Chet and Waveney group, has recently returned from a week-long trip to the country which was devastated on April 26 1986 when an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.
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Belarus received more than 70pc of the radioactive fallout and the effects continue to be felt decades on with thousands of children being born with or going on to develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia and other serious health problems.
CCLL was founded in 1991 to give the children of Belarus and Ukraine the chance to breathe clean air, eat nourishing food and drink clean water to give their immune systems a chance to recover.
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Since then, it has brought more than 46,000 children to the UK.
Mrs Stannard said the children usually arrive with just the clothes they are wearing so the charity has been collecting new and used clothes and shoes for the children to pick out some outfits the day after they arrive.
She set up the Chet and Waveney link of the charity after seeing a television programme about the work CCLL does and last year she hosted two girls - Masha and Olya - in a trip organised by the Mid Suffolk link.
This will be the first time her link has organised the trip and she hopes that next year 10 children can be brought over from Belarus.
During their stay, the children will receive free dental treatment from John G Plummer in Caister and a free eye sight test and glasses, if needed, from Observatory the Opticians in Beccles.
She said: “They don’t have NHS dental care in Belarus, therefore they have to pay to get treatment and their experience has often been a very painful one.
“So once they get over the fear, they can see that it doesn’t have to be a painful procedure.”
During their time in the region, the children will enjoy a range of activities including visits to swimming pools and the beach, Africa Alive! the Sea Life Centre and bowling before their farewell party at The White Horse in Chedgrave on July 3.
At the end of the stay each child takes home a year’s supply of vitamins for themselves and their siblings, along with some basic medical items that we take for granted but they do not have access to at home, including plasters, chap sticks and sore throat sweets.
It costs £650 to bring a child over from Belarus, which covers airfare, a visa, insurance, a contribution to interpreter costs, outings during their stay and new clothing.
Fundraising continues throughout the year and anyone who can help is asked to contact Mrs Stanndard by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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