Chernobyl Children’s Project visit to the team

For the third year running, the team today hosted an all-day visit to the team by the Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK), West Pennine Branch. Every year various groups in the UK host children’s visits from Belarus, all the children having been affected in one way or another by the long-term effects from the Chernobyl (Ukraine) nuclear accident.

As part of a month-long visit to the UK during which time the children’s immune system receives a boost. 17 children from both urban and rural areas of Belarus, along with 21 adult hosts came to visit us at our Ladybridge base. Yet again we were pleased to host such a visit with 7 team members being on hand, one member of our Support Group, and one team helper.

The children meet (recovering!) search dog Chi, at the start of their day with the team.

The children arrived at 10:00, accompanied by their sponsor families and others, including their interpreter, Natalya Baranava, and their doctor Yauheni Baranau.

By arrangement with NWAS Ladybridge Hall, in whose grounds our base is situated, welcome refreshments were provided for all by NWAS.

Refreshments are taken on board before heading out onto the very sunny hills…

Photographs of the children were then taken by the Bolton Evening News, alongside our search dog handler Dave Marsh and his search dog Chi, who was celebrating his 9th birthday today.

Our search dog Chi is currently recovering from a very serious recent accident, which nearly resulted in Chi loosing one of his front legs. At this moment in time Chi’s front leg is held together by external metalwork and pins, and so Chi obviously drew considerable sympathy and lots of hugs from all the children present (and also a few adults as well).

It was then off to the summit of Winter Hill, basking in full sunshine and very warm temperatures where the Belarussian children carried out a Mountain Search & Rescue operation, helped of course by the team members and Support Group members present. All then returned to our Ladybridge base for a tour of the base, following which their interpreter Natalya, presented a commemorative plaque to the team, joining previous presentations from the last two visits in our display cabinets.

Sporting the team baseball caps – which probably came in very useful considering the very sunny weather!

In turn, the team presented all of the children and their helpers with team baseball caps.

The children make their way onto the moor to collect a exercise casualty

It’s quite a struggle to keep the Winter Hill transmitter standing upright, but these two show us how it should be done!

It was then off to an excellent lunch at the NWAS Ladybridge Hall training centre, with thanks to their staff for the welcome.

At the time of the Belarussian children’s visit to the main Ladybridge building, NWAS were holding various very high level interviews and those present could not fail to see and hear such a wonderful, excitable bunch of children, all chattering away in their Russian language with little or no command of English.

Before departing, everybody signed our base visitors book, and as this is signed in Russian, we cannot tell you what the children wrote, however here are some of the comments that were made in English:

  • “It was great! Thank you for a completely enjoyable time! We had great experience in rescuing people. The one who have been rescued had great fun and are happy to be saved and alive. We hope we’ll be able to come here again some day. You are great! Thank you!!!” – Natasha (Natayla) Baranava
  • “Thanks again for your friendly and genuine welcome. The children and, I suspect, the adults enjoy the experience and it is good to actually see Winter Hill! All the best for the work you do with such professionalism” – Stuart Carmichael, coordinator.

Natayla and the children present Tony with a token of their appreciation.

The team wishes all our friends from Belarus a very safe journey home and next year we hope to see more visitors from our young friends and their helpers in Belarus.

The Chernobyl Children’s Project (West Pennine Branch) also have their own website which can be found by clicking here.