Last visit for the Chernobyl kids

Children of Chynoble at Specsavers.
Children of Chynoble at Specsavers.
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EASTERN European children affected by the Chernobyl disaster are enjoying their final month-long visit to the area after arriving last Friday.

The children are enjoying their fifth and final visit this year -the 25th year since the disaster - thanks to the Vale of Belvoir branch of Friends of Chernobyl Children.

They have spent a month each year for the past five years being hosted by volunteers in the Vale of Belvoir area. The trips are designed to offer the children a respite where they can detoxify their systems.

Anne Ablewhite, of the Vale of Belvoir branch of Friends of Chernobyl Children, said: “It is the fifth and final for these children - when they first came here they were just seven-years-old - so it’s going to be quite emotional when they leave next month.

“They really enjoy their time here with the host families and they also get plenty of health checks.”

While the children are here they receive health checks, vitamins and dental appointments.

On Monday they were invited to Specsavers in Grantham for free eye exams.

Tracey Gell of Specsavers said: “While they are here we offer them free eye tests for the children and their tutors and if they need glasses they get them free as well.”

While in the area, the Friends of Chernobyl Children have organised a host of events and visits to keep them busy.

The children will visit Belton House, Twin Lakes and London, among other places.

They will also take part in a variety of sports and activities including swimming, ice skating, sailing and laser quest.

They will also attend a big party thrown by the ladies at Harrowby Church of the Ascension.

The current crop are the second group to spend five years visiting the Vale of Belvoir. Next year, a new group of young children will make the trip.

Anne said: “We are now trying to get a new group set up and we already have quite a few people interested in becoming host families.

“Next time we are hoping to have children from the “red zone” area. They have absolutely nothing and everything they eat is very contaminated, so we are hoping to help them out.”

The Vale of Belvoir branch raise money throughout the year.

Anne said: “We have bag packing and give talks. One day a pensioner pushed £20 into my hand and told me to buy the children ice cream.”

l The group are looking for host families or anyone who thinks they can help. Call Anne: 01949 842259.