Huge thanks to Blackpool for giving Chernobyl children holiday of a lifetime

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline.  Pictured are Karen Jackson and Svetlana Tur.
Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline. Pictured are Karen Jackson and Svetlana Tur.
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The chairman of Blackpool Link of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline has thanked Fylde coast residents for helping children from Belarus to have “the holiday of a lifetime”.

“Every day has been their favourite day,” David Lowe told The Gazette.

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline.  Pictured are Yahor Dziardziuk and Stsefaniya Samarchuk.

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline. Pictured are Yahor Dziardziuk and Stsefaniya Samarchuk.

“The Chernobyl explosion was 32 years ago, but the people of Belarus are still dealing with the problems it caused.

“We are extremely grateful to all local residents, businesses and organisations that support us in trying to improve the health of the children, and without their help we would not be able to give them the holiday of a lifetime.”

David, from Bispham, makes annual visits to Belarus and the Ukraine to visit children and families affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia continue to affect thousands in the area every year.

Since 2005, the Blackpool Link has brought 10 youngsters, aged 10 to 12, to the Fylde coast for a four-week holiday packed with fun activities.

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline.  Pictured are Arseni Nikanchuk and Marat Dubel.

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline. Pictured are Arseni Nikanchuk and Marat Dubel.

This year, the children visited local primary schools St Kentigern’s of Newton Drive and Copp School in Great Eccleston, before spending days with the local Sea Cadets and going to Blackpool Zoo.

The seaside activities were punctuated by adventures outside of the town, with visits to White Scar Caves and the Lake District.

David Lowe says charitable donations by those within the community are key to the trip being a success, with long-time supporters The Wheatsheaf Restaurant in Woodplumpton donating nearly £850.

Merlin’s Magic Wand, a scheme associated with Merlin Entertainments, and local group Blackpool Lions also paid for the children to visit the Sealife Centre, the Tower and the Circus.

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline

Children from Belarus visit Blackpool Zoo as part of the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline

Alongside an anonymous donation of £200, Boots Opticians also offered eye tests and provided three children with new glasses, free of charge.

And Big Fish Little Fish, supporters of the charity for more than 10 years, offered the children free swimming lessons, while the DM Thomas Foundation donated more than £1,000.

Fleetwood Town Football Club also got involved, inviting the children to their training ground to have a kickabout with staff.

The trip will finish with a leaving party hosted by Blackpool Hotel Conference Centre (formerly the Hilton) which generously supports the charity.

David added: “We have to raise in excess of £6,000 per year to bring the children to the UK and entertain them when they are here, so we are extremely grateful for the organisations that support us.

“We always need more support, fundraisers and hosts and buddies for our children.”

* To help, visit: http://www.ccll.org.uk/blackpool