Chernobyl children
enjoy four-week stay
thanks to lifeline group

IT was a short but sweet trip that could help improve their immune system and life expectancy.

Youngsters from Belarus have spent the past four weeks in Warrington as part of a scheme set up by the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline.

Since the disaster, Belarus has suffered from 70 per cent of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion on April 26, 1986, and four weeks of respite can make a real difference to their health.

Six boys and six girls, aged 11 and 12, visited the UK along with teacher Victoria Kuzmiankova and a fellow 16-year-old pupil, who had been invited back by a host family from previous years.

The chairman of the Burtonwood link of the CCLL, Colin Frodsham, said: “Thyroid cancers in children are increasing year on year and, now children that were around in 1986 are producing the next generation and scientists don't know what to expect.

“By inviting children to our clean atmosphere and providing healthy food – even just for four weeks – improves their immune system and gives them a longer life expectancy.”

These children from Gymnasium No Three School in Mogilev would not have been able to travel abroad to have a break from the constant levels of radiation had it not been for the CCLL.

During the past three weeks, the children have taken part in a packed programme of activities including visits to Chester Zoo, Walton Gardens, Blackpool Tower and the Lake District.

As a special thank you, they performed a concert at the end of their stay.

Colin, who lives in Burtonwood, said he would encourage others to get involved with the CCLL to help make a real difference to the youngsters’ lives.

He said: “It is a chance to embrace another culture and customs and a chance to improve a young life after the tremendous shadow thrown by the nuclear disaster of 1986.

“For some it can be the start of lifetime friendship, personally, I’m still in touch with children we hosted in 1998.”