A group of 13 youngsters from Belarus, accompanied by their teachers Olya Gorelova and Maryna Topunova, were given a warm welcome as they visited England for the first time courtesy of the Hucknall Branch of The Friends of Chernobyl Children.
Fundraiser Kim Challand and her dedicated team raised a phenomenal sum of £14,000 in order to bring the children aged between 7 and 8 years to Hucknall for a four weeks stay at the homes of caring host families.
It is the 16th year in succession that Hucknall’s Friends of the Chernobyl Children’s charity has reached out to embrace the needs of youngsters whose lives have been affected by the world’s worst nuclear disaster which took place in 1986.
The 13 excited children took centre stage at a welcoming party held at the Royal British Legion in Beardall Street, where they enjoyed a slap up buffet and entertainment with dancing and a disco with games that put them at their ease.
Kim Challand,a driving force behind the Hucknall Chernobyl initiative, said: “Landing in England at the height of summer these lovely young people can look forwards to having the time of their lives during their one month’s stay.
“So much has been planned for them and as our special guests there will be golden opportunities for them to take part in a packed programme of activities and events which will enrich their lives.”
As well as being educated during their stay, at Hucknall’s National Primary School and paying visits to opticians for eye tests and to doctors and dentists for health checks, the Chernobyl party will benefit from an impressive itinerary of events.
As well as weekly outings to places such as Clumber Park, Burntstump Country Park and Centre Parcs ,the BIG event will be the Party in the Park which takes place in Newstead.
They will also enjoy swimming lessons at Hucknall Leisure Centre,horse riding and sporting activities as well as picnics and visits to places of local interest.
Branch Chairman David Palmer said: “It is the first time that this particular group of children will enjoy the benefits of our hospitality and it is hoped that they will come to us for at least another five years.”
Paying tribute to the charities fund-raising organiser Kim Challand, Mr.Palmer added: “She plays a big part in raising the £14,000 needed to meet the costs of the Chernobyl Children’s visit and does an incredible job.
“The support for her string of fund-raising events has been phenomenal and local people have dug deep to help our cause supporting initiatives such as a Race Night, Breakfast Brunch, a Golf Day, Skittles Challenge,and raffles and prize draws.
“Never a week goes by without her organising something to raise funds to make the event happen each year. She is an extraordinary woman and is an inspiration to us all.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Chernobyl host or would like to support the charity with a donation,should contact Kim Challand on 0115-9639434.