Chernobyl’s youth to visit

Children from Chernobyl at the opticians at Tesco in Blackpool
Children from Chernobyl at the opticians at Tesco in Blackpool
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Kind-hearted residents are being urged to open up their homes to help children still feeling the effects of a nuclear disaster more than 30 years ago.

The Red Rose Link charity is appealing to people across the Fylde coast to welcome a youngster from the disaster-hit city of Chernobyl into their homes for two weeks this summer.

The charity aims to support children affected by the 1986 disaster, which saw an entire city abandoned after an explosion in a nearby power plant caused a catastrophic nuclear fallout.

Chris Riley, chairman at the Red Rose Link, said: “Though it’s been 31 years since the Chernobyl disaster, children living near the area are still affected.

“It affects their health because they are still growing food in contaminated soil. It weakens their immune systems.

“We understand that having brought them out of the area for a month, with fresh air and food, when they go back it takes approximately two years for their immune systems to go back to how they were before.”

The youngsters, who are all aged 10 to 12-years-old, will be flown in during the summer holidays, where they will stay with a local family for either two or four weeks.

Mrs Riley said: “We take them to various places - the Blackpool Tower, Sandcastle Water Park, the animal farm in Ormskirk. The children really enjoy it and they love seeing the sights.

“Our volunteers have all given very positive feedback. It’s a worthwhile cause and they get to help the children.”

People who are interested in playing host to a child from are asked to contact Mrs Riley at the Red Rose Link on 01772 686339.

Mrs Riley said: “Everything will be discussed and the relevant documentation and home visits completed long before the children arrive, and there will be an interpreter with them on 24/7 call for any issues you may have.”