Belarus Visit

Well the team may not be very proficient in the Russian language, but smiles all round certainly got us off to a good start, as the team played host to children from various parts of Belarus who have in some way been affected by the events in Chernobyl. As part of a month long visit to the area hosted by the Chernobyl Children’s Project, West Pennine Branch. 16 young Belarussians came to visit us at our base, together with their sponsor families and their children. It was the second year that the Team has played a part in their visit and once again the friendliness shown by our visitors to us was the first thing we noticed as being unchanged from the year before. We were also pleased to see Natasha again, as the group’s interpreter, she certainly made an impression on our members who attended last year.

A quick photocall and then the group split into two groups – one would be going out on to the Moorland at Rivington & Winter Hill. The other would be taking part in a little exercise within the ground of Ladybridge Hall, then they would swap over.

The exercise Casualty after being found by Search Dog Chi.

The stretcher party arrives.

The transfer of the exercise casualty to the stretcher.

Team member Pete McKale about to depart for the hills with the special passengers.

On the moors above Rivington.

We even managed to get Search Dog Chi to do a Russian Dance for them, as well as providing an excellent demonstration, albeit without his normal handler Dave Marsh today, of what a search dog can do.

Search Dog Chi doing a Russian dance or is he jumping for joy to be away from Dave Marsh !!

For one Bolton MRT member, Dave Healey, it came as a pleasant surprise to meet an old work colleague from Granada TV, Bill Hutton. Bill explained to Dave that some of the children are suffering from various forms of cancer and illness, which has been brought about by the effects of the Chernoybl incident, even though most, if not all, of them have been born after that day.

After the trips out and exercises the whole party was then taken along to Ladybridge Hall, where a magnificent buffet spread had been laid on, again our thanks must go to the kind, anonymous, sponsor of today’s buffet and also to the staff of Ladybridge Hall for such a magnificent spread, it was so good it even beat Iain Peel, who would normally go back for seconds or even thirds !!!!!

The magnificent buffet within Ladybridge Hall.

After lunch the Team presented all the children present with a Team baseball cap and once again took advantage of another photo shoot. Then Natasha presented the Team with a box of chocolate novelties, in a traditional hand crafted straw box.

Group shot of all our visitors and members on the day.

Natasha presents John Carlin with the traditional hand crafted box of chocolates.

Then all our visitors signed our guestbook, some easy to read comments and some will require translation again, like last year. Then as quickly as they had arrived, it was time for them to depart. Thoroughly enjoying todays activities, the visitors left all smiling and with new friendships made and old ones reaquainted.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year and Наилучшие пожелания на будущее

More details of the Chernobyl Children’s Project can be found on their website a worthy cause that’s worth a visit to.