A holiday lifeline

CHILDREN affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster spent time learning circus skills at Sawtry Community College during a holiday designed to improve their health. Nine girls from Belarus flew to England for a break from the lingering radioactive pollut

CHILDREN affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster spent time learning circus skills at Sawtry Community College during a holiday designed to improve their health.

Nine girls from Belarus flew to England for a break from the lingering radioactive pollution - and to have some fun.

They visited Sawtry and were taught plate spinning and the art of diablo.

The scheme, called Healthy Break, is funded by Chernobyl Children Lifeline. Deputy head of the charity, Mary Hume, said: "The day was excellent. The children really enjoyed the lesson, the staff and instructor were very friendly and the children acted upon this and had a great time."


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This year is the 20th anniversary of the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in Ukraine, when two explosions blew the top off a reactor building, starting a fire which burned for days.

The explosions also released a deadly radioactivite cloud which poured from the damaged reactor for 10 days.

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Areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are still suffering the after-effects, and Geoff Griggs, committee member of the project, said the trips to the UK for the children were essential.

"It is a mark of how important their parents see this opportunity that they will allow children aged between eight and 11 to travel to a country where they do not speak the language and have to stay with strangers," he said.

"But after a few days nobody is a stranger and strong ties are soon forged."

Chernobyl Children Lifeline gives children a four-week break from the pollution where they can eat healthy food and prolong their life expectancy by up to two years.

INFORMATION: About 40,000 children from Belarus have visited Britain since 1992. Children get medical attention, dental care and have their eyes tested during their stay. It costs about £270 to bring each child to the UK.

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