A BELPER woman who was inspired to help children suffering from the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by the Belper News has launched an appeal to find more volunteers.
Ann Walker, secretary of the Derby and Burton Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, first read about the charity’s work ten years ago and got involved.
The Lifeline brings children affected by the Chernobyl disaster for a month’s recuperative holiday in the UK and now Anne is looking for local families to host two children from Belarus for two weeks.
Ann, 52, of Derby Road, said: “We will be bringing ten boys and ten girls aged ten to 13. No qualifications are needed just a loving home. The people of Belper have been very supportive in the past. Last year ten of the children were hosted locally.
“The children have a great time and many of our host families find that bringing these children into their lives is a rewarding experience.
“We would also like to hear from anyone living locally that can help translate the letters written in Ukranian or Belarussian.”
Mark Winson, 52, of Joseph Street, hosted two girls from Ukraine last summer with his partner Jo Gamble. “We found out that they don’t have the things that we have. Their immune system is down because they can’t eat the local vegetables. There are hot spots and the ground is polluted. After they pay a visit here their health is boosted. It seemed a wondeful thing to do to give people a nice holiday. They were lovely children - very grateful with great manners. It was great for them and great for us.”
Ann said the disaster at the reactor in April 1986 struck a personal chord with her because it coincided with her daughter’s third birthday.
She said: “We are not giving people false hope, we’re giving them hope. They have to live in that country and make a life out of what they’ve got. We can’t quantify how much good detoxing over here for a month does, but you can certainly tell the difference when you see the children.”
For more information, visit www.ccll.org.uk/derby, or call 01773 829654.