The Children of Chernobyl

Friday 20th Sep 2013

The Children of Chernobyl

The Rotary Club of Lunesdale  Working With Communities.



On 20th September 18 children, all 8 years old, visited Kirkby Lonsdale for a day out.

The children are in this country under the care of The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children Charity; for a 4 week recuperative care programme staying with English host families homes in Silverdale, Arnside and Crossthwaite. The Charity was founded in 1994 by Olwyn Keogh M.B.E. who now lives in Silverdale and the Charity has supported and cared for many thousands of children and their families in the intervening years. The children are from the highly contaminated areas of Belarus and all from socially disadvantaged families, many of them having suffered loss of family members through tragic circumstances and all living in dire conditions.

 The Rotary Club of Lunesdale was happy to support the initiative of one of its members to give the children a day out. The event was also well supported by many local people and people from communities further afield as news of the day spread. It was a great example of everybody pulling together to achieve the common goal of giving the children a wonderful day out. The RC provided each child with a back pack and provided small gifts to help fill them. Rotary also arranged for a magician to entertain the children for an hour in the afternoon.

Local people also provided small gifts .Many ladies knitted hats, gloves and scarves. A quantity of good used children’s clothing was collected plus some new clothing was also donated.

The busy day thankfully was dry and began with a trip to Greenside Farm where the children were welcomed by Mike and Mary to see their prize herd of alpacas. The children were thrilled to get close to these lovely animals and be allowed to touch them. The little visitors were especially pleased to be taken to see the alpaca nursery with many baby ones and one just 2 days old. Next stop was Woodclose Park with a visit to meet Steve and Michelle, see the wigwams and then enjoy a walk back down to Devil’s Bridge where they all started to sing much to the amazement of onlookers. We walked the riverside path, climbed the Radical steps, saw Ruskin’s View and then made our way back for lunch. After lunch Steve came to open up the fire station and brought the fire engine out. Wow what a bonus! The children were allowed into the cab. The boys tried on Steve’s coat and helmet and each child had a go with the hose. The excitement level was high. Next it was time for us to return to the Institute and the magician. He was marvellous and a real hit with the children. How they shouted, laughed, cheered and clapped.

Finally it was time for our little visitors to leave us. They were each given their back packs and all their gifts and their 2 interpreters were not forgotten. The children sang a couple of songs for us before they left which produced a tear in many an eye. They were delightful. For those who were involved in this special day it was so rewarding. I am sure that the day will live for a long time in the children’s memories and also in ours.

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