Chernobyl children get their first glimpse of the sea
A local train company has provided free travel to Cleethorpes for 11 children affected by the Chernobyl disaster, so they could experience their first day out at the seaside.
Forming part of their four week stay in South Yorkshire, each year the Sheffield branch of the Chernobyl Children's Life Line charity invites children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster to stay with families in and around Sheffield.
This year the charity has welcomed 11 children from Stolin in Belerus, an impoverished area of the country badly contaminated by the disaster. By providing these children with clean food, uncontaminated water and fresh air, it is thought that just four weeks of respite will allow their immune systems to recover from heavy contamination, increasing their life expectancy.
For the past five years First Transpennine Express (FTPE) has provided free travel for the visiting children and their hosts, so they can enjoy a day out together at the seaside. Recently, the children and their hosts visited Cleethorpes to enjoy a day out at the seaside and take in the sea air.
Mike Ring, a volunteer for the charity adds, "Belerus is a flat country in the middle of mainland Europe. Most of these children have never seen the sea before, so to have the opportunity to take them to the seaside for the day and let them play on the beach is amazing. The children really enjoyed their day out, we really do appreciate the kind support of First Transpennine Express."
"In addition to inviting the children to Sheffield, we provide them with dental care, eye care and clean clothes. Coming from such a poor country, the majority of children arrive with just a small carrier bag of things. We want to make sure that they return home with plenty of clean clothes and their eyes and teeth checked over, in addition to their immune system having recovered."
Kate Lamb Business Improvement and Community Manager from FTPE adds, "It's a pleasure to help Mike and the other volunteers from Chernobyl Children's Life Line take these children and their hosts for a day out together at the seaside. Although the purpose of their stay is to allow their immune systems to recover, it's also an opportunity to enjoy being children and experience the days out we take for granted in the UK."
For more information about Chernobyl Children's Life Line charity visit http://www.ccll.org.uk.