A HERO of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster- who braved dangerously high levels of radiation to help ensure more lives were not lost - has been staying in Belper and educating local people about the consequences of the disaster.
Oleg Geraschenko was one of the Ukranian firefighters who helped prevent a further three reactors at the stricken plant from exploding - which could have caused a nuclear winter to rage across Europe for decades.
As part of the European Awareness Week of the accident, he has been staying with Ann Walker, Secretary of Derby and Burton Link Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline at her home in Derby Road, Belper as well as meeting local people and groups in the town and across Derbyshire.
The charity, which brings child victims of the Chernobyl disaster to the UK for recuperative breaks of four weeks, decided to host Mr Geraschenko in order to raise awareness locally.
Ms Walker said: “It’s been great that people who support us in Belper have been able to speak to Oleg and understand why we do what we do. He is a living legacy and is able to tell his story to people and help them learn exactly why it so important we remember what happened.”
Mr Geraschenko was one of 200 firefighters stationed in Chernobyl from June 25 to July 25, 1986. The men dealt with fires on every shift - ensuring they didn’t reach the reactors.
Talking about his experience he said: “We were all specially selected for the job. Most of us were under 30. Over 25 per cent of them are dead by now.”