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North-east appeal to help children affected by Chernobyl

The children at Aberdeen beach
The children at Aberdeen beach

Families in the north-east are being urged to offer children affected by the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster a holiday which could change their lives.

The appeal comes as eight girls from Belarus enjoy a four-week break organised by the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline Aberdeen City and Shire.

Belarus received more than 70% of the radioactive fallout from the 1986 nuclear explosion and every year thousands are born or go on to develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia.

The respite breaks offered by the charity give children the chance to live in a clean environment and eat uncontaminated foods for a month – an experience which strengthens their damaged immune systems and is believed by some doctors to lengthen their life expectancy by up to two years.

Since their arrival the girls, aged eight to 11-years-old, have enjoyed a range of activities including trips to Codona’s fun fair in Aberdeen, Banff Beach and Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Chairman Davie Henderson, a senior warden at the city council, said: “Because of the radioactive substances in the soil, more than three quarters of the country is contaminated.

“It’s in the food chain, in the water and it has detrimental effects on the whole population – particularly children,

“Being over here for four weeks gives their immune system a huge boost – it’s remarkable the comments we get from their parents when they go back – they have colour in their faces and they have more energy.”

The children are selected for the trips by the Belarus education authorities and CCLA – which is self-financing – raises the funds to pay for their air fares, visas and activities.

The charity raised £8000 to provide this year’s trip, with Altens-based Central Coaches providing a mini-bus.

Mr Henderson, who travelled to Belarus in May to discuss the project with parents, said: “They are extremely grateful – it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We try to give these children the best holiday that we possibly can but we are limited by the number of host families to how many children we can have.”

To find out more about becoming a host family, or to make a donation, visit

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