Candles lit to mark Chernobyl disaster

MOVING -- families at the service to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster
MOVING -- families at the service to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster

A SPECTACULAR display of lighted candles in a Hucknall church formed a fitting memorial to mark the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

The candle-lighting ceremony took place during a special service at Seymour Road Baptist Church on Ruffs Estate.

It was on April 26 1986 when a massive explosion occurred at the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine.

Ever since, the radioactive fallout has caused illnesses which include cancer and brain diseases. Youngsters in neighbouring Belarus have been among the main victims as the result of contaminated food, water and air.

The service was held by the Hucknall branch of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC) organisation.

The branch was formed 13 years ago to bring groups of children from Belarus to Hucknall every year for an important health-respite.

The youngsters are seen by dentists and opticians and are given basic medical checks. A full programme of recreational activities and outings is also arranged for them.

Damage to the Fukushima power plant in Japan from the recent tsunami and earthquake added to the poignancy of the occasion.

Members of Hucknall families who have hosted a series of visits by three groups of 14 children each to the town since 1999 attended the ceremony.

They were introduced by FOCC branch representatives David Palmer, Jacqui Dean and Kim Challand to light candles. Other people present were then invited to do the same.

Eva Cassidy’s version of the song, ‘Over The Rainbow’, was played during the ceremony.

Photos were shown with an overhead projector as a reminder of previous visits. The next visit will take place from Friday June 3 to Friday July 1.

The church minister, the Rev Vanessa Hollingworth, read a poem entitled ‘Life’ by famous novelist Charlotte Bronte. She praised the FOCC branch and the families involved for the care and devotion they showed to ensure that the scheme was consistently successful.