Belarus girl owes much to Hucknall

HAVING FUN -- Katya meets a Johnny Depp lookalike during a visit to Matlock where 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' was being promoted
HAVING FUN -- Katya meets a Johnny Depp lookalike during a visit to Matlock where 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' was being promoted

NINETEEN-year-old Katya Chuprynska was among the first group of youngsters to visit Hucknall 13 years ago under a scheme run by the town’s Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC) organisation.

Now the benefits of her visits to Hucknall have been underlined as she looks forward to a prosperous career.

Each year, children from Belarus suffering from the after-effects of the nuclear disaster 25 years ago are hosted by local families as part of a vital ‘health break’.

Katya lives in Mogilev, a city in the east of Belarus, and she has kept in close contact with FOCC members since she first became involved in the project.

This summer, she and two 14-year-old girls from Belarus have been back to stay with Hucknall families for a private holiday.

Thanks largely to the FOCC visits, Katya now speaks excellent English. She attends university and is hoping for a career teaching English in Belarus and Russian in England.

During her latest stay in Hucknall, Katya gave a short talk in English to Hucknall Rotary Club, which initially set the FOCC scheme in motion.

Recent fundraising events for the FOCC included a charity golf day on the Nottingham City club’s Bulwell Hall course and a race night at the Royal British Legion social club on Beardall Street, Hucknall.

The group of youngsters from Belarus who visited Hucknall for a month this year stayed as usual with Dispatch district families before returning home on Friday July 1.

Arrangements were again made for the children to keep up their education by attending Hucknall National Primary School on Montague Road. This helps them to learn English and it stood Katya in good stead during the years when she took part in the scheme.

A well-varied programme of activities was again arranged — these being highlighted by the customary Picnic In the Park at Hayes Farm, Newstead, which featured the award-winning Newstead Brass band.