Fond farewell to Hucknall’s Chernobyl kids

GOING WITH THE FLOW -- two Belarussian youngsters get to grips with the fire hose watched by firefighters Simon Clooney, Nick Chauntry and Luke Gilfillan

GOING WITH THE FLOW -- two Belarussian youngsters get to grips with the fire hose watched by firefighters Simon Clooney, Nick Chauntry and Luke Gilfillan

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A HEALTH-boosting visit to Hucknall by a group of children still affected by the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster has been declared a “wonderful triumph”.

A party of 14 youngsters spent a month in the town through the Friends Of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC) organisation.

They have now flown home to Belarus and bid a fond farewell to their host families in Hucknall.

But already work has started to bring the group back next year for a fourth annual visit.

Kim Challand, a leading member of FOCC, said: “It costs a lot to bring the children over. Without the support of the families and local businesses we wouldn’t be able to do this.

“We have already lined up a series of fundraising events, including a charity golf day in Bulwell (Sunday July 17) and a race night at Hucknall Royal British Legion (Wednesday July 22).

“There is no time to waste.”

The Hucknall branch of FOCC has been running for 13 years. Each group of children visits the town for five consecutive years.

The aim is to give the children a boost as they struggle to combat the effects of the nuclear explosion in the Ukraine in 1986.

Belarus was hit hardest by the disaster and still suffers from contaminated water and crops.

While in Hucknall, the latest group of children have been given dental check-ups and eye tests. They also enjoyed a series of days out, including swimming, a trip to the zoo and a bike-ride at Clumber park.

One of the last events before the children went home was a Party In The Park fundraising concert at Hayes Farm, Newstead. The stars opf the show were Newstead Brass.

Hucknall fire station laid on a visit where the children got to try out the fire hoses and watch a demonstration.

Boxes of treats collected by staff at Notts County Council were also presented to the children by the chairman, Coun Keith Walker (Con).