Thirteen children from Chernobyl have come to Grantham on their annual visit to receive free health checks.
The lives of people in the Belarussian town are still affected by the aftermath of the disaster in 1986, which saw a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl’s power station explode, and will continue to be for around 24,000 years according to geologists. Therefore the children are given the opportunity to come to Lincolnshire once a year for a month, thanks to the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity. The charity provides health support for children in Belarus. The children stay with host families in the area and experience life in England. They go on lots of days out to places like Belton House and Twinlakes.
Helen Sewell, co-ordinator of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children, said: “The trip is about getting the children outside into clean, fresh, unpolluted air, and giving them clean food which has not been contaminated by the radiation. We are trying to boost the children’s immune systems before they reach puberty because they often get struck down by radiation-related illnesses, such as thyroid cancer, bowel cancer and various different types of leukaemia.
“Obviously we cannot prevent these diseases but we can give the children the best chance possible to cope with them.”
The youngsters are given free dental check-ups, free eye tests and free glasses should they need them, courtesy of Specsavers in Grantham, and any other medical checks they may need. They also receive a pair of shoes and a warm winter coat.
Tracey Gell, from Specsavers, said: “The trip went very well. We test each child and if they do need glasses, we provide them. We make sure that the children have a nice time and we always send them home with a goodie bag.
“This is a service we always provide so we see the children grow up over the years.”