Happy and glorious! That was the verdict of more than 300 supporters of Hucknall’s Friends of Chernobyl’s Children’s Charity who attended a Picnic Party in the Park fundraiser which was declared “ a sunshine success”.
Staged at Hayes Farm in Newstead Village by kind permission of landowners Richard and Karen Moss, the event, co-ordinated by Kim Challand and backed by Suzy Smith, was notable for its fun, friendship and community spirit.
There was never a dull moment as the 13 children from Belarus, accompanied by their teachers, Olya Gorelova and Maryna Topunova, took centre stage in the company of Elvis impersonator Simon Patrick.
Families turned out in droves, bringing tents, picnic tables and blankets, armed with an array of food and drink, to savour an occasion.
While Simon Patrick, who was the winner of the European Elvis Presley Tribute awards contest in 2010, rolled back the years with a rich repertoire of the “King’s” classic hits, it was the Chernobyl children who stole the show with a dance routine that was out of the top drawer.
Hucknall teenager, Georgia Wright, was invited to give dancing lessons to the eager seven and eight-year-olds and after just two rehearsals they were put in the spotlight to showcase their talents at the event.
Performing to the chart hit “Happy”, the youngsters turned on the style and earned a great ovation for their efforts.
Adding to the enjoyment of the occasion was a tent where a rich array of stalls selling teddy bears, jewellery, cakes and much more,did brisk business as did a raffle at which more than 50 prizes were up for grabs.
Hucknall Friends’ chairman, David Palmer, presented flowers to Kim Challand and Suzy Smith and praised their on-going commitment to what he described as “a wonderful cause”.
Belarus teacher Olya Gorelova gave a poignant vote of thanks in which she described the host families as “guardian angels”.
By their efforts the Hucknall Friends’ raised a rewarding £1,700, money that will be used to fund the next visit by the Belarus children in 2015.
“The children have had a ball and have loved being in England for the first time in their lives, staying with families who have shown them kindness and love,” said Kim.
“We would like to recruit new families who are willing to host a child from Belarus for a four-week period next year and anyone interested can contact me on 0115-9680247 for full details.”