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From Belarus to Beccles: Appeal for families to home Chernobyl children in the summer

PUBLISHED: 15:58 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 30 October 2018

In June 2019, a group of children will fly from Belarus and settle in Beccles for a month. Pictured are the 10 children at their Welcome Party hosted at the Waveney House Hotel.Picture: Contributed

In June 2019, a group of children will fly from Belarus and settle in Beccles for a month. Pictured are the 10 children at their Welcome Party hosted at the Waveney House Hotel.Picture: Contributed

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In June 2019, a group of children will fly from Belarus and settle in Beccles for a month to escape the Chernobyl contamination.

Host couple Sally and Stephen Southgate of Gorleston pictured with  Dasha and Varyia, both 10. Picture: ContributedHost couple Sally and Stephen Southgate of Gorleston pictured with Dasha and Varyia, both 10. Picture: Contributed

Child victims of the Chernobyl disaster are searching for a short-term home for a breath of fresh air.

The Chet and Waveney Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity are searching for willing volunteers to house children from Belarus.

For four weeks in June next year, a small group of boys and girls, aged nine to 11, will fly across for a much-needed break from the Chernobyl contamination.

The air, soil and water in Belarus are heavily polluted from the nuclear explosion in April 1986 and, as a result, thousands continue to be born or go on to develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukemia.

In June 2019, a group of children will fly from Belarus and settle in Beccles for a month.

The ten children selected will integrated into the local lifestyle, become a part of the community and live in a host home.

Sally and Stephen Southgate, who hail from Gorleston, hosted Dasha and Varyia - both aged 10, in June this year.

According to the Mr and Mrs Southgate, they wanted to offer an opportunity rather than simply donating to the charity.

“We both entered this experience with a clear view that we wanted to help on a practical level,rather than offer a donation to the charity.

“A month living away from Belarus has such a positive effect on the long term health of these young children,” the couple said.

The couple had initial fears on hosting the two children they did not know and who couldn’t speak English.

Mr and Mrs Southgate said, “Google Translate became our best friend and its sometimes quirky translation provided much humour at times.

“Our initial concerns of being responsible for two children we did not know and who did not speak English did not last long and as the first week passed, so did our worries and the girls became part of our family.”

Since the program began in 1992, more than 46,000 youngsters have been brought over to stay with host families.

The charity are appealing for more families from the area to open their doors for the children.

To find out more about becoming a host, contact Alison Stannard on 01508 549047. Alternatively email astannard@uwclub.net or visit www.facebook.com/CCLLChetandWaveney

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