Ashford firefighters welcome Chernobyl Children

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Ashford firefighters welcome Chernobyl Children

Posted: 01/08/2008 12:23:23

Eighteen children from Belarus – the country most affected by the 1986 nuclear disaster – will experience a day in the life of a Kent firefighter when they visit Ashford fire station.

Aged between nine and eleven years-old, the group, who will visit the station on Friday 8th August, will be treated to a hands-on tour of the station and equipment, as well as playing games with the local crew.

The visit to Ashford fire station is part of a variety of activities that have been planned by The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity, who have arranged for the children to stay with host families in the East Kent area.

The group are staying in the area for a month with the trip offering the children, who often come from deprived families, the opportunity to experience a different culture, to have fun and most importantly providing a chance for their weakened immune systems to recover from the radiation that is still present in Belarus, 22 years after the disaster.

Coordinating the trip to the fire station is firefighter Kerry Mitchell. She said: “It will be a real pleasure to host the event for the children and to see them enjoying themselves. Their lives have obviously been affected by the Chernobyl disaster and we are looking forward to giving them the opportunity to visit the station and see the work we do, while having a much needed day of fun.

“As part of the tour we have arranged to provide each child with a life-saving smoke alarm that will be fitted and maintained by fire and rescue crews in Belarus. Fire safety standards are nowhere near as high as the UK’s, so we are really pleased that we can provide the children with a smoke alarm – it could end up saving their life in the event of a fire.”

The group’s month-long visit has been organised by Chair of the Chernobyl Children Lifeline, Ashford and New Romney Link, Sarah Day. She said: “Every year hundreds of children in the area are diagnosed with leukaemia, bone and thyroid cancer as a result of the nuclear disaster. The charity brings over 4000 children a year to Britain on month long respite holidays which provide an essential rest from radiation and can extend their lives by up to two years. For the first time ever the charity has brought a group of children to the Ashford area and we are especially grateful to Kent Fire and Rescue Service for offering us a tour of the fire station.”

If you are interested in hosting a child during the next visit, please contact Sarah on 01233 336459.


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