Belarus to the Borders

By robert fairburn

PLANS are in motion to organise another trip for Chernobyl children to visit the Borders next summer, writes Robert Fairburn.

An information night is being held in the Kingsknowes Hotel in Galashiels, on Monday, November 16, at 7.30pm.

Members of the Chernobyl Children Life Line (Borders link) are hoping people interested in hosting the youngsters or willing to assist in other ways will attend to find out exactly what is involved.

Secretary Sarah Barton said: "We are looking for people interested in hosting two boys or two girls for two or four weeks next July.

"But there are also a number of other ways to help the charity such as acting as support hosts who look after the children for a day or weekend, hosting the adult translator or helping with transport.

"The meeting on the 16th will be all about explaining why the CCLL exists, what we do and what is involved when the children visit.

"It is an open meeting to welcome potential new members and also an opportunity to speak to families who have experience of hosting."

Twelve children from Belarus - eight girls and four boys - visited the Borders this summer.

They all live in the contaminated zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power station explosion in 1986, but it is estimated just spending a month in the clean environment of the Borders has increased their lifespan by two years.

The youngsters were hosted in various locations across the region including Jedburgh, Selkirk, Chirnside, Galashiels, Hawick and Walkerburn.

As well as check-ups and treatment kindly provided by local dentists and opticians, the visit included a picnic at Coldingham beach, and an exciting trip on the St Abbs Lifeboat, a visit to Galashiels fire station, pictured above, and lunch at MacDonalds, the Donkey sanctuary in St Boswells, a party hosted by Kingsknowes Hotel in Galashiels, outings to Bowhill and Scotia Kids, and a farewell party at Walkerburn, hosted by local villagers.

Anyone interested in finding out more about next July's visit is urged to attend the meeting or contact chairman Fraser Simm on 01578 730297, or secretary Sarah Barton on 01835 840333.


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