Town generosity gives children from Chernobyl a trip to remember
Buy this photo » Town generosity gives children from Chernobyl a trip to remember
CHILDREN raised in the radioactive shadow of the Chernobyl power station have been enjoying the holiday of a lifetime. The nine boys and nine girls, aged nine to 11, are from Korosten, a Ukrainian city only a few miles from the plant.
They were brought to stay with host familes in Swindon by the Old Town branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity Although the nuclear disaster at the plant was 27 years ago, the radiation it released has affected the health of children born since. The explosion also left the area in poverty.
Charity branch chair Lynette Corengia said: “We had a fantastic time.
“The benefits are mainly to their health, because they’re affected by radiation every day of their lives. It’s in the air, it’s in their food and it’s in the ground they play on.
“Most of the children that came this time have a health issue, and coming here gives them a better chance.”
The charity relies on volunteer host families, fundraisers, volunteers at its shop in Victoria Road, as well as countless businesses and other organisations who provide either discounts or free services for the children.
During the latest trip, for example, Specsavers provided free eye tests and glasses for the 14 who needed them, and Euro Dental in Bath Road provided free examinations and free fillings for 10 of the young visitors.
First Great Western’s family deals enabled the children and others in a party of about 50 to travel to Weston super Mare for around £150.
Special deals, free services or help were given by Highworth Rec, Lydiard Park, the Moravian Church, the Cold Harbour in Blunsdon, The Core in Old Town, the Whole Hog Productions film unit, the Sun Inn, Club Energise in Stratton, Cotswold Water Park, the Regent Hotel and many others.
Even a heritage railway group in Swanage helped out, offering trips on its steam trains, and charity supporter Carol Gibbons threw open her home and garden in Old Town for a fundraising tea party attended by Swindon Mayor Nick Martin.
Future trips to Swindon by needy young people are already being planned, but cannot go ahead unless support continues.
Further information about the charity and its work can be obtained by calling 01793 531597, or by visiting the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline Old Town Link presence on Facebook.
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